JAM | Jul 10, 2024

Hurricane Beryl causes J$10.25 billion in road damage, reveals Holness

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addresses residents and other stakeholders attending the St. Andrew South District Consultative Committee Conference at Pembroke Hall High School on Saturday, June 29, 2024. (Photo: JIS)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the National Works Agency’s (NWA) preliminary estimate of road infrastructure damage due to the passage of Hurricane Beryl is some J$10.25 billion.

Holness noted that while data is still being collected by the NWA, initial assessments further reveal that more than 5,000 parochial roads have been affected in various degrees.

“Madam Speaker, in terms of the level of repair that will be needed and the cost, it is significantly our main road network. We are still tallying the damage to the parochial roads, and as I give regular updates, these figures will become available,” the prime minister disclosed in his address to Parliament on Tuesday (July 9).

“Many roads remain inaccessible, complicating our relief efforts, but I should say, Madam Speaker, that the NWA advised me that there were 200 main corridors that were blocked, and all blocked main corridors have at least afforded a single-lane passage,” Holness added.

He said the destruction of infrastructure has disrupted access to critical services, including healthcare, with approximately 38 per cent of public hospitals sustaining damage. This includes damage to the roof, which required the relocation of patients.

Additionally, Holness revealed that the total estimated cost to repair infrastructure damage to hospitals is some J$1.8 billion.

A man looks at breaking waves in the Caribbean Terrace neighborhood as Hurricane Beryl approaches, in Kingston, Jamaica, July 3, 2024. (REUTERS/Marco Bello)

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the hurricane caused widespread outages of electricity, water, and telecommunication services, which has exacerbated the suffering of Jamaicans.

“In terms of livelihood, agricultural lands, fisheries, and small businesses have been severely impacted. These sectors, which form the backbone of our economy, have suffered immense losses, leaving many without a means to support their families,” Holness said, adding that he toured several fishing villages in Clarendon, where significant damage was observed.

He said the government will now have to assist the fishermen in damaged communities. There was noticeable damage to small enterprises.

The prime minister further noted that the impact of Hurricane Beryl has been exacerbated by the tropical wave experienced over the weekend.


What To Read Next