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Tropical Storm Elsa leaves Jamaica with $803 million in damages

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Tropical Storm Elsa

Jamaica Prime Minister Hon. Andrew Holness stated to the House of Representatives yesterday that due to heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Elsa, it has been estimated that damages are near $803 million.

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  1. This preliminary assessment was made by the National Works Agency (NWA).
  2. The assessment indicates that around 177 roads island wide were affected by Tropical Storm Elsa.
  3. NWA’s equipment will be utilized to clear affected corridors with the help of private contractors.

PM Holness urged members of the Lower House to move quickly in assisting the NWA in having the first phase of its mitigation program completed. He informed that the government has made $100 million available for this purpose.

“I am aware that the program has been completed in some constituencies, but there are others which are lagging. I want to urge us all to have these activities completed within the next 21 days, so that we will be in a better position for the rest of the season,” the Prime Minister said.

“The estimates for flood damage are very preliminary, as the storm ended on Sunday and the agency is continuing damage assessment to determine the cost for permanent repairs. The assessment, to date, is divided into two categories – cost to clean and clear roadways and drains of silt and debris and cost to make the roads accessible.

“Regarding the cost to clean and clear roadways and drains of silt and debris, the preliminary cost has been put at $443 million. Another $360 million will be required to make affected corridors accessible. We are, therefore, looking at a total cost of approximately $803 million.”

PM Holness explained that the estimated costs due to Tropical Storm Elsa are based on equipment time using standard rates and materials for filling washed-out areas. He noted that these costs cover road clearance, drain cleaning, creating access and patching, adding that no costs for rehabilitation and other permanent repairs are included. He said the NWA will continue to assess the damage to include inspection of all structures in areas where rainfall was the greatest. The Prime Minister added:

“I must point out that the cost to clean and clear the roadways and drains of silt and debris focuses on removing the physical obstacles on the roads and providing clear access for communities. Much of this has been done. The cost to make the roads accessible, however, speaks to the filling of holes, grading and using shingles and minimum patching to improve drivability on the roads. We expect that this activity will be carried out within the next two weeks.

“This is critical, as we want to ensure that no issue that can have serious impact on the lives of the people goes unnoticed. Assessments are also being done on the need for rehabilitation, resulting from the damage to the road network and drainage system.”

Some of the affected roads include Alexandria to Greenock Bridge, White River to St. Ann’s Bay, Hopewell to Ocho Rios and St Ann’s Bay to Green Park, in St. Ann; Broadgate to Toms River, Trinity to Fontabelle, Strawberry Fields to Orange Hill, and Port Maria to Islington, in St. Mary; and Chipshall to Durham, Hope Bay to Chipshall, Seaman’s Valley to Mill Bank, and Alligator Church to Bellevue, in Portland.

Also affected are Morant Bay to Port Morant, Port Morant to Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Hill to Hectors River, Bath to Barretts Gap, Bath to Hordley, Bath to Bath Fountain, Morant River Bridge to Potosi, in St. Thomas; and Spanish Town to Bog Walk, Dyke Road to Highway 2000, Twickenham Park to Old Harbour roundabout via Burke Road, Spanish Town to Bamboo, Old Harbour Bay area to Bartons, Twickenham Park to Ferry, Naggo Head to Dawkins and Old Harbour roundabout to Gutters in St. Catherine.

eTurboNews spoke with Jamaica Tourism Minister Hon. Edmund Bartlett who said, “We were mostly spared from the potential for even greater damage to homes and buildings. Mainly, the heavy rains caused damage and that impacted our roads.”

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.