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Flooding disrupts several activities; some places without water and electricity

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

ALL national emergency systems were yesterday activated as a trough moving across the island dumped heavy showers on southern and north-eastern parishes.

The Meteorological (Met) Service of Jamaica said the trough is expected to linger within the vicinity of the island through to the weekend. Cloudy conditions with outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue as a result.

Extensive flooding was reported in the parishes of St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth, St Thomas, St Ann, St Mary, and sections of Kingston and St Andrew.

As a result, low staff turnout was reported by the Ministry of Health at hospitals and health centres islandwide, leading to disruption of service.

The ministry said May Pen and Kingston Public hospitals were affected by major leaks. All other hospitals, it said, reported minor leaks. Flooding was reported at the Spanish Town and Annotto Bay Accident and Emergency departments, Noel Holmes Maternity Ward, and some sections of the Port Antonio Hospital. Major leaks were also reported at Morant Bay Health Centre, while other health centres reported minor leaks. Flooding was reported at Ocho Rios, Adelphi, Claremont, and St Margaret's Bay health centres.

In the meantime, sections of the island's power delivery system were damaged, the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) said. This resulted in outages in several parishes. The JPS said technical teams were deployed in an effort to restore service to sections of Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Mary, St Ann, St James, and Clarendon. It said, however, power restoration would continue to be slowed by continuing rain.

Several National Water Commission (NWC) systems were also affected, resulting in high turbidity levels, blocked intakes, blocked access and dislocated pipelines. The NWC said some power supply problems forced the shutdown of water supply facilities in several parishes.

At the same time, services provided by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) were suspended in some parishes, including St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth, with partial suspension in other parishes. The NSWMA said the decision was made in light of the heavy rains currently affecting the parishes. It said the suspension of garbage collection is to ensure safety of its collection crews and the agency's assets (See related story on Page 24).

The Jamaica Urban Transit Company said it had to reroute several of its buses due to impassable roads. The State-run bus company said the inclement weather caused delays in its schedules. It said the 44, 46 and 49 bus routes were significantly affected by flooding, while the number 49 route was affected by debris, including fallen trees. The 53 bus route was temporarily suspended.

Meanwhile, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) advised the public to avoid areas close to swamps, rivers, gullies and other known crocodile habitats during the heavy rains.

NEPA said the animals are likely to be displaced during the torrential rains currently affecting the island. The environmental watchdog agency reminded people not to provoke crocodiles, as the creatures may become defensive if cornered or attacked.

NEPA urged people to report crocodile sightings to 754-7540, 1-888-991-5005, 580-7993 or via the agency's WhatsApp line at 819-NEPA (6372). Individuals may also call 119 or make a report to the nearest police station.