Jamaica declares emergency

2007-08-20 10:10
Kingston - Hurricane Dean battered Jamaica into a state of emergency on Monday, downing power lines, ripping off roofs and blocking roads on the Caribbean island with debris and felled trees.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced late on Sunday that security forces would be granted wider powers after police reported several looting incidents across the island.

The state of emergency will be reviewed at a meeting of the Jamaican cabinet later on Monday, but was envisaged for a period of 30 days, and Miller even indicated that national elections on August 27 may be delayed due to Dean.

The category four hurricane, packing winds of 240km/h an hour which have so far killed five people across the Caribbean basin, was whipping up giant surf and dumping rain on Jamaica as it headed for Belize and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula.

Roads were blocked by fallen trees and flooded in the eastern parts of the island, with power cuts affecting thousands of homes.

"The sea has dumped debris onto the roads," Portland parish Mayor Bobbie Montague said as the storm surged by Jamaica's southern coast, on course for the nearby Cayman Islands, Mexico and possibly Texas in coming days.

'Extremely dangerous'

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry has ordered elderly people in the Rio Grande Valley region to be evacuated in case Dean's track takes it in a more northerly direction, which could put it over the southern tip of Texas by Thursday, CNN news reported.

At 06:00 GMT, the centre of Dean was located 240km southeast of Grand Cayman Island, moving west at about 32km an hour, said the US National Hurricane Centre.

Dean remained an "extremely dangerous category four hurricane", the centre pointed out, adding that the storm had the potential of becoming a deadly category five hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Monday.

Jamaica's airports were shut since Saturday, and more than 4 500 people have packed into hundreds of shelters opened up by the government around the island amid bitter memories of Hurricane Ivan which killed 14 people in 2004.

Miller called on all off-duty police officers, firefighters and prison warders to report for work, while electricity was turned off on the national grid as a safety measure.

The Jamaica Public Service Company said more than 135 000 customers were without power.

Danger of landslides

The prime minister called on all political parties to forget about national elections on August 27 and "put all differences aside as a national emergency is on us".

Mexico was, meanwhile, evacuating some 90 000 tourists from Cancun and other islands of the "Mayan Riviera", as well as some 13 000 workers on more than 140 of its oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, with Dean set to slam into the Yucatan peninsula early in the week.

In Cuba, just to the north of Jamaica, authorities had evacuated some 150 000 people from six eastern provinces to save them from possible flooding.

Hurricane Dean earlier brushed past Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries, lashing it with heavy rain and gale-force winds. Two people were killed in Haiti's southeastern town of Moron and southern Tiburon, Haitian officials said, and more than 1 000 people evacuated from low-lying areas.

Two people were also killed in the French territory of Martinique, while authorities in the Dominican Republic, where a 16-year-old boy was killed when he was swept away by huge waves, warned of the danger of landslides.

The National Emergency Committee there also said that 1 580 people had been evacuated and some 316 houses had been damaged, many of them severely.

A leading risk modelling company, California-based Eqecat Inc, on Sunday estimated initial losses in the Lesser Antilles islands and Jamaica at between $1.5bn and three billion dollars .

NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Music

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The quest for understanding has reached a new intense emotional level. The more tempestuous your emotions are, the bigger the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.