Deadly storms in Jamaica will affect budget-PM

Kingston, Jamaica: The flooding that has claimed the lives of two people is also expected to have an impact on the country’s budget.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has not given an exact amount, but has made it clear that “the damage is going to be expensive”.

The two fatalities were a 68-year-old farmer who was washed away by the floods and a teenager who was in a house with the rest of his family when it fell into a gully. As of press time, 12 people are confirmed missing.

Heavy rains from what was first tropical depression 16 and then Tropical Storm Nicole (which has since dissipated) caused flooding across the country this earlier this week. Houses were washed away, bridges collapsed, roads were flooded and crops were destroyed in the deluge.

Golding said although it’s too early to say what the extent of the impact would be, the J$503 billion (US$5.8 billion) budget would have to be adjusted to facilitate repairs.

“What is very clear from previous experience is that it is going to require adjustments and how those adjustments will be designed and how they will be struck is something we will have to explore,” said Golding at a press conference after getting an aerial view of some of the damage.

Golding identified Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine and Clarendon as the worst affected parishes.

Officials are waiting until the weather improves to carry out a thorough assessment. But forecasters say even though Tropical Storm Nicole has dissipated, two additional weather systems in the area could bring more rains and cause flooding.

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