WO R S E N I N G W E AT HE R co n d i t i o n s br o u g h t ab o u t b y Hurricane Matthew have forced the abandonment of a visit to Portland by a high-ranking official of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and a minister of government.
Chief of Defence Staff of the JDF Major General Antony Anderson, accompanied by minister without portfolio in the office of the prime minister with responsibility for job creation and economic growth, Daryl Vaz, who were flying in by helicopter, had to abandon that visit midway due to unfavourable conditions.
Vaz, who spoke to The Gleaner yesterday, described the weather situation as terrible and urged residents to adhere to the warning from the Met Service, which is providing information about Hurricane Matthew.
“The chief of defence staff was coming down to Portland to see and inspect the kind of arrangements down on the ground for his military personnel,” commented Vaz.
“They (JDF soldiers) have been dispatched to east and west Portland with armoured equipment to assist with rescue efforts, if needed, and also to cover for the fire department, whose vehicles are unable to adequately manoeuvre deep or high water. My visit was to meet with the various disaster teams at the emergency operation centre to ensure that sufficient food, blankets, water, and other emergency supplies are readily available,” he added.
Seventeen emergency shelters are now open throughout the parish, with 256 persons occupying them.