Some J’cans tak­ing Matthew se­ri­ously, util­is­ing shel­ters

Jamaica Gleaner - - MAPPING MATTHEW -

DE­SPITE THE slow pace of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, some per­sons weren’t wait­ing un­til the last minute to get to shel­ters yes­ter­day.

At the Na­tional Arena, Red Cross of Jamaica per­son­nel noted a steady stream of per­sons com­ing in from Sun­day. Among those who spent the night in safety was San­dra Clarke, her hus­band and two chil­dren. They left the of­ten­flooded Kin­tyre dis­trict on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

“It (the house) is down by the river­side, so we knew we couldn’t stay there,” said Clarke. “But we are com­fort­able here. And our things back home are se­cure.”

Suzanne Scar­lett from the Red Cross com­mended per­sons for com­ing in early.

“I think peo­ple are a lit­tle more cau­tious this time. We have seen more peo­ple com­ing than at the same pe­riod last hur­ri­cane,” she said.

I think peo­ple are a lit­tle more cau­tious this time. We have seen more peo­ple com­ing than at the same pe­riod last hur­ri­cane.

SUF­FI­CIENT SUP­PLIES

Scar­lett ex­pressed con­fi­dence they had enough cots, blan­kets and food for any­one seek­ing shel­ter. The theme of per­sons leav­ing their homes early con­tin­ued at the Par­adise Street Ba­sic School in Rae Town.

Ray­mond Har­vey, 79, a re­tired fish­er­man, said he was tak­ing no chances.

“I came in last night (Sun­day) when I hear dem talk­ing about dis hor­ri­ble thing com­ing,” he said.

“Where I live not so whole­some, so dem say preven­tion bet­ter than cure.”

The early child­hood in­sti­tu­tion was not orig­i­nally des­ig­nated a hur­ri­cane shel­ter, but res­i­dents have worked to­gether to make it hos­pitable.

Kimeka ‘Nuffy’ Rain­ford, who led the ini­tia­tive, pleaded for as­sis­tance from the pub­lic.

“We woulda love if peo­ple coulda give we like sponge or mat­tress for peo­ple to sleep on,” she said, not­ing that up to yes­ter­day morn­ing, they had more than 10 per­sons at the shel­ter and ex­pected many more.

“We have the space for more peo­ple, man. We can move around the class­room fur­ni­ture and we can small up wi self. Memba we a ghetto peo­ple.”

Over in Port­more, the shel­ter man­agers re­ported a steady flow of per­sons reg­is­ter­ing.

Bald­win Tracey, shel­ter man­ager at Gre­gory Park Pri­mary, noted per­sons were mostly con­cerned about flood­ing in ar­eas such as Chris­tian Pen and Ban­gor Gully. His coun­ter­part, Earl Roberts, at the Port­more HEART Academy, noted that the shel­ter started reg­is­ter­ing per­sons from as early as 4 p.m. on Sun­day, just min­utes af­ter open­ing.

“We’ve spo­ken to the dorm man­ager here at the academy, and she is ex­tend­ing the use of the fa­cil­i­ties to us if needs be,” he said.

“Plus, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of­fi­cials are on alert if more cots and mat­tresses are needed.”

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