Damage to main road network from Hurricane Beryl estimated at USD 10.25 billion

1 Damage to main road network from Hurricane Beryl estimated at $10 25 billion

KINGSTON  — The preliminary estimate of the damage done to Jamaica’s main road network by Hurricane Beryl that impacted the island on July 3 has been put at USD 10.25 billion by the National Works Agency (NWA).

This was disclosed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in a ministerial statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday. He noted that Jamaica has approximately 25,000 km of roads with 5,000 km being main roads and the remainder being parochial roads. “While the data and information are still being collected in the field, the preliminary assessment is that over 500 parochial roads have been affected in various degrees,” the prime minister stated. “In terms of the level of repair that will be needed and the cost, it is significant to our main roads network. We’re still tallying the damage to the parochial roads,” he added.

Holness noted that many areas remained inaccessible which is complicating the Government’s relief effort. Significantly, he said that of the 200 main corridors that were reported as being blocked by the NWA, all have been cleared to allow at least single lane traffic. The prime minister said the destruction of infrastructure has disrupted access to critical services including healthcare. He said the damage sustained by health facilities is estimated at $1.8 billion.

“Approximately 38 per cent of our public hospitals sustained damage, including major infrastructural damage, mainly roof damage requiring relocation of patients,” he told the house. He also pointed to the widespread outages of electricity, water and telecommunication services. “The absence of these essential services has exacerbated the suffering of our people who are struggling to cope with the immediate aftermath of the storm,” he said.

“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 with a means to support their families.”

The prime minister, who toured several parishes in the aftermath of the hurricane, said fishing villages in St Elizabeth and Clarendon were devastated. He said the government will have to find the resources to assist the affected fisherfolk. And, he said assistance will also have to be provided to operators of small enterprises, including corner shops, who also suffered immense losses. (Jamaicaobserver) …[+]