RUNAWAY BAY, St Ann:
Blocked drains have again been blamed for a major flooding event, this time in sections of Runaway Bay, St Ann, yesterday morning, where the onslaught of heavy rain and rushing water tore away a box culvert on the main road linking the area to Brown’s Town.
At the main junction in Runaway Bay, the rains left the roadway under several feet of water, threatening the nearby police station.
A corporal at the station told journalists that the water rose to the top of the steps leading to the front office of the station but did not flood the building.
Several homes in the Runaway Bay area did not fare so well, however, as the waters got in, soaking furniture and other property.
A resident of Coxheath, Courtney Gordon, said that he was at work when he got a call some time after 8 o’clock that his house was flooded. He said that he rushed home to assist members of his family and others living in the yard.
Gordon blamed a blocked drain that runs behind the house for the flooding.
The scenes in Runaway Bay were reminiscent, on a wider scale, of the chaos that ensued in September when heavy rainfall and blocked drains caused flooding on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston. Among the sights then, as yesterday, was motor vehicles seen almost completely submerged.
In Dumbarton, residents gathered at the site of the collapsed box culvert, several of them voicing concern over the difficulty they will now face in travelling from their community to Brown’s Town.
Councillor for the Dry Harbour division, Carlton Ricketts, who was on the scene, issued an appeal to the National Works Agency (NWA) for immediate action to address the situation.
“The volume of water that came down with the rainfall undermined the integrity of the bridge, causing everything to collapse,” Ricketts told The Gleaner.
“This is a major thoroughfare from Brown’s Town to Runaway Bay. The alternative, through Minard, is a private road, which I was told earlier was also blocked.
“At this moment, we need persons from the National Works Agency to come and have a look at it and move to clean the debris so that persons can drive that way coming down to the coast.”
Ricketts said there was also flooding along other roadways in the division.
Some residents claimed that erosion of some sections of the roadway in Dumbarton was further facilitated by unfinished pipe-laying work being carried out by the National Water Commission (NWC).
They called for the NWC to speedily complete the exercise.
Several motorists, unaware of the collapsed culvert, had to turn back on learning of the situation.
Stephen Shaw, NWA communications manager, told The Gleaner that a technical team from Kingston would be visiting the affected areas today, after which the agency would be in a better position to address the situation.
Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association executive Vana Taylor said hotels in the Runaway Bay area were not adversely affected.
“Except for debris on sections of the beach, no, the hotels were not affected, as far as I know,” Taylor told The Gleaner.
In the meantime, several residents of Runaway Bay expressed alarm at the flooding, questioning its magnitude compared to the amount of rain that fell in the area.
However, one resident pointed out that the majority of the rainfall was in the hills overlooking the town and the water was making its way to the sea.
“We just need fi clean di drains dem,” he pointed out.
Yesterday’s rain also caused damage in St Mary, including the collapse of a section of the Junction main road.