Port­land rav­aged, per­sons evac­u­ated

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Gareth Davis Gleaner Writer

BUFF BAY, Port­land: FIVE CHIL­DREN and 12 adults were evac­u­ated by fire­fight­ers on a day when tor­ren­tial rain lashed sec­tions of western Port­land, also trig­ger­ing res­cue ef­forts at a ba­sic school in Set­tle­ment in Orange Bay.

The un­favourable weather con­di­tions, which started shortly af­ter 1 p.m. yes­ter­day, in­un­dated sev­eral homes in the Spring Gar­den area of Buff Bay, re­sult­ing in res­cue ef­forts be­ing car­ried out by the fire de­part­ment, which had re­sponded min­utes be­fore to a dis­tress call from a kinder­garten fa­cil­ity.

“This is un­be­liev­able, but cat­a­strophic,” com­mented Daryl Vaz, gov­ern­ment min­is­ter and mem­ber of par­lia­ment for West Port­land.

“Just last month, the homes of sev­eral res­i­dents in this area were in­un­dated. This time, the fire de­part­ment had to be called in to evac­u­ate 17 per­sons, in­clud­ing chil­dren, who are now stay­ing at a dis­as­ter shel­ter. It, there­fore, means that as­sis­tance will have to be pro­vided to those af­fected in the short­est pos­si­ble time, bear­ing in mind also that chil­dren and the el­derly are in­volved,” he added.

Vaz had ear­lier vis­ited the lone raft-stand at Ber­ry­dale in the Rio Grande Val­ley with a team from the Tourism Prod­uct De­vel­op­ment Com­pany – hand­ing out cheques to 68 rafts men, who had been rav­aged more than three weeks ago when the Rio Grande over­flowed its banks and washed away their raft­ing ves­sels.

Mean­while, classes have been sus­pended for today at Orange Bay Ba­sic School, where 25 chil­dren and teach­ers were res­cued by fire­fight­ers af­ter they were ma­rooned, and a sec­tion of the road­way at Spring Gar­den is now able to ac­com­mo­date sin­gle-lane traf­fic only, fol­low­ing a land­slide yes­ter­day. Ad­di­tion­ally, a sec­tion of the Hope Bay main road in the vicin­ity of Sum­mer­set Falls is in­un­dated and is heav­ily lit­tered by de­bris.

In east Port­land, a sec­tion of the road­way at Fel­low­ship is im­pass­able as a nearby river has over­flowed its banks, dump­ing bucket loads of wa­ter on to the road­way.

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