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‘Worse than Sandy’

Port Maria cleans up after weekend flooding

Renae Dixon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012    

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OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Government may soon have to find a new home for the Port Maria Primary School in St Mary which has seen repeated flooding over the years, including on the weekend when heavy rains lashed the rural town.

Books, appliances, equipment, and furniture were damaged after the school was flooded following heavy rains that caused two rivers to overflow their banks, pushing silt and other debris into the classrooms and offices at the school as well as other businesses in the town. A section of a retaining wall also collapsed.

St Mary residents claimed yesterday that the flooding problem at the school started in 2006 following the construction of the new highway development.

Some classes at the school were suspended following last month's passage of Hurricane Sandy as only students from grades four to six could be accommodated, while plans were being made to have the institution fully reopened by yesterday. But the reopening of the school has been set back by the rains.

Vice-Principal Vendilita Kennedy told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that the canteen was stocked on Friday as staff prepared for the full schedule of classes yesterday, only to report for another day of clean-up.

The vice-principal said yesterday that the school was "worse than it was" after the hurricane, noting that the classrooms, offices and other areas of the school were filled with mud.

Principal Daslyn Downer, who yesterday met with her senior teachers, said a report was sent to the Ministry of Education. She said that following previous flooding, technical teams from the ministry visited the institution and made suggestions of possible solutions, among them the raising of the schoolyard, proper river training or relocation.

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