Mis­sion aborted

Jamaica Gleaner - - MAPPING MATTHEW - Gareth Davis Sr Gleaner Writer

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.

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