Floods ravage Jamaica; cyclone hits Sav-La-Mar

Heavy rains from tropical storm Nicole left five confirmed dead and at least 14 more residents missing in Jamaica. Many more are homeless and some are without electricity. The storm which blew in on Wednesday Sept. 29 ravaged private homes as well as public buildings, uprooted trees and electrical wirings forcing schools to close throughout the island.

Prime Minster Bruce Golding addressed the nation the following evening on his regular “Jamaica House Live” broadcast aired on IRIE FM.

He extended his sympathies to affected persons and reported on his visit throughout the worst devastated regions.

“The security forces are fully mobilized to do two things: to ensure that they can respond to emergency calls, because at a time like this it is likely that the number and frequency of emergencies will in fact increase and people will be seeking assistance and also to ensure that no one is allowed to take advantage of the dislocation and disruption that has occurred as a result of heavy rains.”

He said in addition to the rains, an unusual occurrence also affected residents of the parish of Westmoreland. He said a cyclone – formation of wind — had hit the area destroying a Baptist Church and credit union building. The prime minister spoke with callers who phoned in locations in need of disaster relief.

In some areas the roads had disappeared leaving caveats of up to 20 feet.

He said many areas will “require massive retaining walls” to contain falling structures.

He promised helicopters will fulfill much of the rescue efforts.

“We will have to prioritize” the efforts,” he said.

The leader cited areas in New Market, St. James, Moneague, Smithfield, Westmoreland, Savannah-La-Mar, Great Bay, St. Elizabeth, Red Gate, Clarendon, Bushy Park, St. Catherine as some of the most in need of emergency services because most of the roads are blocked and impassable.

The bridge joining two sections of the Harbour View community in Kingston collapsed leaving many stranded.

The prime minister rushed home from New York in order to see first-hand the extent of the disaster.

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