Go-Jamaica Gleaner Classifieds Discover Jamaica Youth Link Jamaica
Business Directory Go Shopping inns of jamaica Local Communities

Lead Stories
Arts &Leisure
In Focus
More News
The Star
Financial Gleaner
Overseas News
The Voice (UK)
Hospitality Jamaica

1998 - Now (HTML)
1834 - Now (PDF)
Find a Jamaican
Power 106FM
News by E-mail
Print Subscriptions
Dating & Love
Free Email
Submit a Letter
Weekly Poll
About Us
Gleaner Company
Contact Us
Other News
Stabroek News

New Haven, old problems
published: Sunday | August 31, 2008

Peta-Gaye Clachar/Staff Photographer
Residents on Cumberland Drive in New Haven, St Andrew, use a makeshift boat to negotiate the murky waters that flood their community during the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav on Friday.

Daraine Luton, Sunday Gleaner Writer

ONLY A stranger who has no alternative would think about putting his feet in the murky waters.

The Sunday Gleaner team would wish the water away if it could. It appears to be rising by the minute and there is absolutely no sign that the levels would recede any time.

Welcome to New Haven, west St Andrew; another of Jamaica's inner-city communities where living conditions intertwine with the passage of Tropical Storm Gustav to make life miserable.

Sade, the mother of a four-year-old girl, has lived in the community for less than a year, and already she has arrived at a similar conclusion.

"This place is dangerous to live. I am leaving as I get the first chance to do so," she tells The Sunday Gleaner.

Heavy rainfall associated with Gustav has transformed New Haven into a pond. The shanty houses in the community were all washed by flood waters, a few of them baptised too.

Before Gustav arrived residents were bracing themselves for the worst.

"Wi a guh have a boat up dat side deh fi move people when di place flood. When yuh come, yuh wi si it," a man said Thursday morning as Gustav took aim.

Less that 24 hours later it had come to pass. Men, women and children walk though the streets of the community as if it were a small river.

Murky water

The murky water carried every thing one could imagine, but this is no hindrance to residents.

"What germs?" one man res-ponds, when asked if he was not afraid of the bacteria the water might transmit.

Those attempting to play it safe in their sojourn devised innovative methods of travel. Old refrigerators are used as boats and they are almost waterproof.

The Sunday Gleaner team would not chance these boats. Walking through the waters was not the smartest, but probably the safest, decision. The journey took us to Sade. Her one-room board dwelling is being washed at the rear by a gully in spate and, water near the front of the yard is threatening to enter.

"It has been a horrific night. Frightening, I can't take it no more," she says.

Dark room

She leads us into her small, dark room where her clothes and bed are tucked away in a corner in anticipation of the flood, and a chamber pot and two basins collect water from her leaking roof.

"I wish I could do better," she laments, adding that she would love if Government relocated residents living there.

History, however, has taught residents otherwise.

"Everytime we ask dem to clean di drain dem ignore us. This has been happening for the longest while but no one pay us any mind. Just clear the drains, that's all we want," one male resident says.

And with waste waters set to find lodging in various receptacles in the community, there is a great fear that Gustav has not only displaced and battered some residents, but has left some young terrorists in the form of mosquitoes, to make New Haven a living hell.

More Lead Stories

Print this Page

Letters to the Editor

Most Popular Stories

© Copyright 1997-2008 Gleaner Company Ltd.
Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Letters to the Editor | Suggestions | Add our RSS feed
Home - Jamaica Gleaner