HEED THE CALL! – Plea made for people in low-lying areas to evacuate 

Vehicles drives through heavy water on Spanish Town Road in Kingston, yesterday, as rains from Hurricane Matthew started to affect the island. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

LOCAL Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, in an impassioned plea yesterday at a press conference held in Kingston, asked Jamaicans living in known flood-prone areas to go to the designated shelters as the island gets ready for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew.

“Government, following the instructions of the prime minister, has now upgraded the country’s status to Level Three, the highest there is at this this time.

“Hurricane Matthew is no joke as, based on the latest report, the country is going to suffer from severe flooding and heavy showers of rain. I am therefore making a strong appeal for people to heed the call. There is so much and no more Government can do, especially at this time, and people living in flood-prone areas must heed the call and get to safe ground.

“I can inform that I had discussions on Saturday last with the Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal Phillip Paulwell regarding residents of Port Royal. The Government is sending buses to Port Royal at 6:00 pm this evening (yesterday) and these buses will leave at 8:00 pm. All residents of Port Royal who want to go the shelter can do so. and I want to state emphatically that we (the government) cannot guarantee that transportation will be available after this,” McKenzie said in his appeal.

Minister McKenzie also informed the nation that people living on the streets, of which the overwhelming majority are in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew, will be moved to shelters.

“The Salvation Army is assisting the Government, and thus far we have been able to move a large number of these homeless people off the streets, and for that we are very grateful,” the local government minister said.

McKenzie also said that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) made their last flight to the Pedro Cays yesterday, but 30 of the fishers on the cays have decided to remain there.

“At this stage of the development of Hurricane Matthew I cannot give any assurance that the JDF will be able to go back to the cays, as already one woman who has her husband and two sons on the Pedro Cays called to say they now want to leave the cays,” McKenzie said.

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