Hurricane Sandy passed through Jamaica on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 and left a trail of woe and despair in some areas while others were not seriously affected.
The parishes of Portland, St. Mary and St. Thomas were the most seriously affected and many persons have been left homeless consequent on the destruction of their houses and property from flood rains and winds associated with Hurricane Sandy.
In terms of the country’s infrastructure, many roads were made impassable. Some of the roads and communities that had major damage include:
Wakefield to Hardwar Gap, Williamsfield – Haining, Muirton – Haining, Ecclesdown – Fair Prospect, Hope Bay – Chips Hall (Cooling Spring), Tranquility – Bangor Ridge, Balcarres – Wakefield, Buff Bay – White Hall, Seaman Valley – Millbank, Port Antonio – Non Such, (The Ecclesdown – Muirton main rod is still impassable)
Hagley Gap – Penlyne Castle, Mahogany Vale, White River Ford, Negro River Ford, Epping Forest Grass Piece
The following roads are still impassable:
White Hall to Hillside, Hall Head to Morant River Bridge, Coley to Low Mountain, Yallahs to Petersfield, Hall Head to Negro River
Fern Gully, still impassable in the vicinity of its intersection with Breadnut Hill when travelling from the direction of Ocho Rios as a large tree is blocking the roadway
Broadgate to Agualta Vale (fall in the road)
Nolan Hill to Border Main Road cut off at Mount Ogle and just outside the town of Lawrence Tavern in the vicinity of Oberlin High School where there are major breakaways.
The NWA says that over 95% of the 176 roadways across the island have been re-opened at least to single lane traffic. The majority of these corridors were cleared by NWA teams and contractors within 48 hours of the hurricane’s passage. Blockages were caused mainly by fallen trees, washed down silt and debris as well as fallen poles and power lines. In some cases, a few roads were affected by storm water overflowing from drains, flooding and landslides..
In terms of the housing portfolio, a number of structures from all over the island were impacted negatively. In Kingston & St. Andrew approximately 150 houses were damaged – these covered the areas of Kintyre, Bedward Garden, Tavern, Cassava Piece, Cedar Valley – Red Hills, Unity, Mount Ogle, King Weston, Downtown Kingston and Bull Bay – preliminary cost of damage - $30M. In St. Thomas, approximately 1,000 units were damaged costing approximately $50M. Areas affected included, Whitehorses, Nutts River, Dumfries, Seaforth, Morant, Prospect Village, Cedar Valley, Bath and Hampton Court. Another parish that suffered badly was St. Mary which had damages to about 1,000 houses amounting to approximately $200M. Areas affected included, Hampstead, Oraccabessa, Port Maria, Racecourse, Sandside, Tremolesworth, Days Mountain, Bailey’s Vale, Highgate, Gayle, Carron Hall, Guy’s Hill, Annotto Bay, Castleton, Broad Gate. For Portland, it was more of the same with about 200 units affected costing about $30M. Major areas affected were Manchioneal, Port Antonio, Norwich and Buff Bay. St. Ann also had its share of damages; 68 units were affected costing approximately $10M. Communities impacted were, Perry Town, Edgehill, Harrison Town, Windsor, Charles Town, Breadnut, Old Folly, Bethel Town, Liberty Valley and Colgate. St. Catherine had approximately 115 houses affected with estimated damages of $10.34M. Major areas impacted there were Central Village, Gregory Park, Caymanas Bay, Caymanas Glades and Winter’s Pen. Other parishes suffered damages as follows: Trelawny – 7 units – associated costs- $8.1M; St. James – 5 units – associated costs - $3.5M; Westmoreland – 2 units – associated costs - $3.7M; St. Elizabeth – 3 – associated costs - $200,000; Manchester – 7 – associated costs - $4.71M; Clarendon – 5 – associated costs - $820,000.00.
As far as the transport portfolio went, the JUTC fared well in the hurricane. There were no reports of damage but the buses were withdrawn on Tuesday night but were returned to regular service on Saturday, October 27, 2012. There are some challenges on a few routes such as those above Temple Hall and Lawrence Tavern, some of which predate the hurricane.
Norman Manley International Airport closed on Tuesday, October 23 at 10:00pm and re-opened on Thursday, October 24 at 10:00am. Although there was no major issue at this airport, there was some damage to the roof at the fire station and the Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPIs) were misaligned. In the case of Sangster International, that facility was closed on Wednesday, October 24 at 6:00am and re-opened on Thursday, October 25 at 10:00am. Neither facility suffered any damage. There were no major issues with any of the other local aerodromes except for Ian Fleming which suffered some water damage to the plant and the Fire Station.
The radars as operated by AEROTEL stood up well for the most part. The Doppler VHF Omni Range (DVOR) at NMIA failed; the Locallizer at the Sangster Airport failed intermittently and the DVOR failed as well but has since been normalized.
The maritime sector fared fairly well during the storm’s passage as well. The Port of Kingston was closed during the passage of the storm and except for floating debris, there was no damage. The Boundbrook Port in Portland also received some damages. Cruise Ship Terminals also stood up well but there was some damage to the small craft jetty, the sprung structure and the railings of the Ocho Rios Cruise Terminal. The Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) seemed to have suffered the most damage of the Ministry’s Agencies. Two boats used in the course of training were damaged; there was major damage to dock infrastructure; the Bridge Simulator has been rendered out of service and the roofs were left leaking. There was also damage to the plant’s fence.