After 13-y-o student dies... Mayor blames NWA for flooding

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May 26, 2016
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Julian Green mother of Britannie Cohen tries to fight back her tears on the scene where her daughter was removed from a pool of water yesterday
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Britannie Cowen, 13, drowned on Tuesday after she was swept away by flood waters.
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After 13-y-o student dies ...

Britannie Cowen always wanted to be a teacher.

But those dreams were washed away on Tuesday after flood rains forced a bus driver to abandon Britannie and other passengers along the Cheswick main road, near Dalvey in St Thomas.

Britannie, 13, was among those who decided to brave the raging chest-high water. She was one of three students of the Paul Bogle High School who were swept away by the flood waters caused by the heavy rainfalls associated with the tropical storm that threatened the eastern parts of the island on Tuesday evening.

Two girls rescued

Two of the three girls were rescued by a man only known by the name 'Ziggy' of the Dalvey community. Britannie died.

"She wanted to be a teacher," Julian Green, Britannie's mother, told THE STAR yesterday. "That is all she would talk about."

Green told THE STAR that she is very hurt by the loss of the eldest of her three children. She said that although it was raining, she never expected that the roadways would have been flooded to the point where her daughter would be a victim.

"Rain fall and flood out the place before, but nuh like how dis one yah gwaan," Green said.

Stephen Shaw, who heads communications at the National Works Agency (NWA), told THE STAR that based on his team's assessment of the situation in St Thomas, the flooding was caused by an extraordinary amount of rainfall.

"That was not any normal rainfall, and so the [drain] system could not have handled that kind of abnormal rainfall, not even the rivers could have handled the amount. That is why the road was flooded, and that is why the child got swept away, and that is why some of the systems became clogged. They were running well above capacity," he said.

However, Mayor of Morant Bay, Ludlow Mathison, rubbished those claims, saying the flooding could have been prevented if the drains were cleaned by the NWA.

"A foolishness him a talk! When the rain a fall, mi a drive up and down, and me can tell everywhere wha blocked up with rubbish. You can see the plastic bottles dem a bubble up and all different types of things," the mayor said.

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