Sunday, August 19th, 2007...10:21 pm
‘Dean’ batters Portland
Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
Hurricane Dean unleashed devastation on Portland, damaging dozens of houses, destroying livestock, and forcing many persons into disaster shelters.
The Manchioneal area was the scene for some of this category four hurricane’s fury. Within an hour after winds began to increase, 16 houses had already lost their roofs.
Even more scary than that was the ordeal personnel at the Manchioneal Police Station had to undergo, as they were left stranded after storm surges belted the tiny road between their office and the rest of Portland. Dozens of residents from Manchioneal were forced to evacuate to a shelter at the Manchioneal Primary School.
Other persons in that community, who had earlier ignored an appeal to evacuate, were forced to do so because of torrential rains and high winds.
Denise Louise, Parish coordinator of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), pointed out that relief supplies were distributed to all emergency shelters in the parish, as residents poured into the various shelters.
“We have distributed mattresses and other bedding equipment, flash lights, quantities of food, water and other supplies to the shelters,” said Louise.
“Shelter managers are presently manning the 80 emergency shelters, which were activated early yesterday after it became clear the threat posed by the hurricane was at hand,” added Louise.
Sections of Manchioneal and Long Bay are now impassable to vehicular traffic, as several trees fell, blocking the roadway leading from Priest Man’s River, extending to Manchioneal and beyond.
There were also reports that the Hector’s River main road is blocked.
In West Portland some residents of Swift River, Cascade, Hope Bay, Rock Hall, and St. Margaret’s Bay were also forced to evacuate homes and made their way to various government schools, which are being used as emergency shelters.
As conditions worsened the general feeling among residents is that their worst fear has been transformed into reality, as Hurricane Dean not only entered the shores of the island, but created widescale damage in every section of the parish.