We're happy to report that in some cases, Jamaica is ok, post hurricane Sandy.
Eastern, Southern and Northern Parishes of Jamaica, Badly Affected
However, the parishes of Portland, St. Mary, St. Thomas, St.Catherine and St. Ann (the Southern, Eastern and Northern parishes) were badly affected, with entire communities being marooned by floods.
As a result, food has had to be air-lifted (by helicopter) to the hilly borderline districts of St. Andrew and St. Thomas and to Portland, where roads are impassible.
There are still:
1) Persons sleeping outside of their homes and a few in shelters, due to loss of their roofs.
2) Damaged roads as a result of downed trees and boulders and bridges that have come apart due to heavy flooding.
There was total devastation of cash crops - especially bananas, as Sandy left banana, plantain and coffee trees flattened.
The Minister of Agriculture, Roger Clarke, estimates JMD $700 million in agricultural losses, however the Government of Jamaica is only able to help farmers to the tune of JMD $200 million.
============ Update ===========
State Minister of Agriculture - Ian Hayles, upon visiting Portland farms devastated by Sandy, today, stated that agricultural losses now amount to over JMD $2 billion.
The Jamaica Public Service (JPS) - the monopoly electricity provider on island, is reporting that 90% of the island's electricity has been restored and the National Water Commission (NWC) approximates that 40% of residents now have water.
============ Update ===========
The NWC estimates that 80% of its customers now have water.
They claim that 50% of their pumping stations are electricity-dependent, so as soon as electricity is restored to each district, they try to have the relevant water pumps operational.
(Why the NWC doesn't rely on solar and wind energy for their pumps, is just an example of the lack of vision that permeates both the private and public sectors in Jamaica, where infrastructural development is concerned).
The other problem that the NWC is experiencing, is water turbidity, so they have to regularize this, prior to residents getting water.
Jamaica Needs Help, But Self-Sufficiency is Most Urgent!
A few members of the international community have offered Jamaica assistance, namely Canada and the Jamaican Diaspora in the US, Canada and the UK...so we're very thankful for this.
But I am very much in tune with the stance that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has taken - that we should strive to be self-sufficient.
Too many Jamaicans live above their means and so have been plunging us into the never-ending spiral of debt, for about forty (40) years.
So much so, that the Government of Jamaica is unable to make the hard choices needed to come out of debt - e.g. sending non-productive civil servants, home.
This is the major issue holding Jamaica back from signing the IMF agreement, so that we can draw down on over US $600 million in funds. (Funds that would not be needed, had we lived within our means and been more self-sufficient).
I do believe that disasters like Sandy, offer opportunities to Jamaicans - to work together to rebuild.
Too many of us are dependent on political handouts...a storm/hurricane passes and before people try to help themselves, they want to know what the politicians can do for them.
The College of Agricultural, Science and Education - The Model for Jamaica Rebuilding After Sandy
I'd like to see more Jamaicans doing what the students of CASE - the College of Agricultural, Science and Education, in Portland, have done - Sandy blew the roofs off of their classrooms and dorms.
They remained at school to help rebuild it, even though their dorms have been damaged.
They stayed because of their commitment to their education and their school...they say that they are eager to see classes resume and they know that their help, will prompt this happening sooner.
Kudos to them - they are leading the way, by showing the spirit that Jamaicans should have, in rebuilding after Sandy.
Jamaicans need to remember the scripture passage (Provers 22:7), that states that a borrower will always be a slave to his/her lender...and so it's in our best interest to be as self-sufficient as possible.
A beggar has very few options available, where his/her finances are concerned.
1) Nationwide Radio, October 26 - 27,2012
2) Television Jamaica, October 28-29,2012
3) CVM Television, October 28-29,2012