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Hurricane Matthew Threatens Jamaica

Huricane MatthewJamaicans brace for the onslaught of hurricane Matthew as forecasters have urged us to take it seriously. Packing winds of over 150 miles per hour labelled a category 4 storm.  This storm has ready claimed one life in St. Lucia and the Grenadines, a teenager.
Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness has been very proactive and yesterday (Saturday) toured flood prone areas like Marcus Garvey Drive. Other areas including his wife’s East Rural St. Andrew constituency. This constituency is notorious for land slippages and flooding from the Plantain Garden river. Many inhabitants there live in low lying areas and at times refuse to evacuate when asked to do so. Among these areas are Taylor Lands and Bull Bay. The hilly sections are Mavis Bank and Halls’ Delight etc.¬† There is a at Halls’s Delight a bridge (bridge without rails) that becomes inundate very easily and cuts off traffics and pediatrician movement. … effectively isolating the area from say Gordon Town etc.
Hurricane Gilbert
Our last major hurricane to hit Jamaica was Gilbert in 1988. Leaving in its trail an estimated $J153 billions in damage and 49 killed. Electricity was down and not restored to some areas for three months. Many roofs were lost and the entire island was devastated. This was a category three event.
The hurricane was last believed¬† to be 150 miles south east of Jamaica veering north towards Haiti, Cuba and Jamaica in its projected path with wide scope winds some 165 miles from the centre …. moving very slowly …6 miles per hour. Landfall is expected late Sunday or early Monday.
As we brace for Matthew may the Lord spare us its full onslaught.
Vision hopes those people, the most vulnerable, will move to the some 1000 shelters provided … hopefully food and other provisions will be in place. mainly schools have been used as usual.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

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