October 24, 2012
Heavy rains lash Ocho Rios - Some residents unperturbed
Carl Gilchrist, Star Writer
While some sections of St Ann were yesterday reporting only small amount of rainfall, heavy showers lashed the resort town of Ocho Rios, leaving several inches of water on some streets.
Several businesses closed early as persons were given time to get home in light of the worsening weather conditions.
Disaster preparedness officials in the parish met to fine tune preparations as Tropical Storm Sandy took aim at Jamaica.
Alvin Clarke, disaster preparedness coordinator for St Ann, urged resident to take necessary precautions to protect lives and property
"One main thing, persons living in conditions that they are not sure will be able to withstand a hurricane, they should go to the nearest shelter, which is the school, or go to a neighbour," Clarke urged. "Ensure that all valuables are secured by wrapping them in plastic and keep informed by listening to the radio for updates."
While some residents across the parish were busy stocking up on supplies, there were some who adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
In two communities that have been severely affected by flooding in recent years, Cave Valley in South West St Ann and Pedro in South East St Ann, residents were said to be nonchalant in their approach to news of an impending storm.
"Mi nuh feel no way 'bout di storm," said Jody Black of Coffee Ridge in Cave Valley.
"Nobody is really preparing," she added. "People are going to the bush (farm), some looking to go to market, students gone to school, there isn't much concern."
At the time of speaking, there was a slight drizzle in Cave Valley.
In Pedro, where some years ago the Pedro River overflowed its banks and flooded that community for over a month, a resident of Concord, an adjoining community, said there was no sign of persons preparing for a storm.
"I don't think anybody is taking this serious," she added. "And in any case, the (Catholic) church they use as shelter is leaking."
A basic school in the community is said to be too small to be used as shelter. The nearest primary schools available for shelter are at Fort George, a mile away, and at Bensonton, three miles away.
Meanwhile, some residents in Harrison Town, the community between Ocho Rios and Fern Gully, are expressing concern over the potential that exists for mosquito breeding with water already backing up in trenches as the National Works Agency carries out road and drain construction in the Fern Gully area.
One resident said the unfinished culvert presents a clear breeding site for mosquitoes and he is especially concerned in light of the recent outbreak of dengue across the island.