Beryl damage to main roads tallies up to over $10 billion – PM

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Damage done to the country’s main road network as a result of Hurricane Beryl has been preliminarily estimated at $10.25 billion.

The figure was revealed on Tuesday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a statement in the House of Representatives in which he provided an update on the Government’s recovery efforts.

Holness highlighted that Jamaica has approximately 25,000 kilometres of roads with 5,000 kilometres 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,” he said.

“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,” the prime minister added.

He said that while many areas remained inaccessible due to the level of hurricane damage, all 200 roadways that the NWA initially reported as being blocked have been restored to at least single-lane traffic.

Downed utility pole blocking the section of a road in St Elizabeth. (Photo: OPM)

Meanwhile, Holness said the destruction of infrastructure has disrupted access to critical services, including healthcare, with the damage sustained by health facilities 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 shared.

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 told the House that his tour of several parishes in the aftermath of the hurricane showed that fishing villages between St Elizabeth and Clarendon were severely impacted. He said the government will have to find the resources to assist the affected fishers. Additionally, he said assistance will also have to be provided to operators of small enterprises, including corner shops, who also suffered significant loss.