Fos­ter mom shields kids from Matthew

Jamaica Gleaner - - MAPPING MATTHEW - Jo­van Johnson Staff Re­porter jo­van.johnson@glean­erjm.com

AN AN­GRY, roar­ing sea she’s not seen for the past two years con­vinced Moira Mor­gan, 62, to leave her house on Shal­lay Lane along the Yallahs coast and make the trek across the road to the Yallahs Pri­mary School shel­ter with her five fos­ter chil­dren.

The Ire­land-born Ja­maican care­giver of four decades said en­sur­ing the safety of the five, es­pe­cially from the po­ten­tial harm of Hur­ri­cane Matthew now mak­ing its way past Jamaica’s east coast, was also crit­i­cal.

“We’ve come up be­cause we’re the last house there (Shal­lay Lane) be­fore the sea. Were it not some­body else’s chil­dren, I might have taken a chance and stayed down there,” she told The Gleaner, sit­ting in a class­room as strong winds and heavy rains beat against the roof.

“The sea is higher than I’ve seen it in the 18 months we’ve been here. I know we’ve not had any storms, but I’ve not seen it this wild. It kinda have this strange be­hav­iour that I haven’t seen be­fore. It just keeps rolling in, you know how the waves go in and come out, but [in this case] they’re not com­ing out.”

She added: “My fear is that when it

(Matthew) does draw near, it’s com­ing in with a big wave.”

Mor­gan, who worked in Jamaica’s in­ner cities for most of the 40 years, said she has

been car­ing for some of the chil­dren – all un­der 16 – for at least seven years.

Matthew, mean­while, has de­layed Mor­gan’s ef­forts to put to use a wash­ing

ma­chine she re­ceived from a donor on Fri­day.

Matthew is ex­pected to dump up to 20 inches of rain on St Thomas and Port­land.

Storm surges of two to four feet are also ex­pected.

“I’m trust­ing in God that ev­ery­thing will be fine,” Mor­gan said.

Hop­ing things will be fine ex­tended to her “sicky puppy” that shel­ter staff had to re­move from a com­mon room and away from con­tact with res­i­dents.

Pets and other an­i­mals are banned from shel­ters.

Mor­gan and her five fos­ter chil­dren joined more than 1,000 St Thomas res­i­dents who took to shel­ters.

Kevin Scott and four of his co-work­ers were among some, how­ever, who did not re­treat to shel­ters, as they camped out at Michael Black’s coconut farm in Nutts River, Lys­sons, mon­i­tor­ing how the storm would af­fect their liveli­hood.

Scott, Clay­ton Lindo, Carl­ton Man­ning, and Roy Tate told The Gleaner they hoped that Matthew’s pas­sage would not see a re­peat of Hur­ri­cane Gil­bert’s dev­as­ta­tion in 1988.

“Gil­bert left wi bad, man, and we just a come back good-good yah now,” Lindo said.

The au­thor­i­ties in St Thomas have ex­pressed con­cern about how flood­prone ar­eas such as Dalvey, Aud­ley, sec­tions of Leith Hall, Prospect, Mo­rant Bay and Yallahs will fare as Matthew makes it way past Jamaica.

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Kevin Scott (left), Roy Tate (sec­ond left), Clay­ton Lindo and Carl­ton Man­ning at Michael Black’s coconut farm in Lys­sons, St Thomas, yes­ter­day.

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