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Photographer's Note

Hurricane Ivan hit Jamaica two weeks ago now, starting with tropical storm force winds hitting the island on Friday the 10th. Widespread damage across the island resulted, although not nearly as much damage was done as Ivan did to Grenada, or as Jean just did to Dominican Republic. This was due to the eye of Ivan actually passing south and west of the island--quite providential in the light of his expected path of marching right across.

The most noticable evidence of Ivan in Kingston is debris in the streets, large piles of branches and palm fronds sometimes narrow the streets down to one lane. A fair number of houses and buildings lost their roofs as well, which usually are constructed merely of tin (thus rather prone to leaving when a wind comes along).

Farther up into the country, mudslides were very common, and the rural roads won't be cleared of the mud and debris for many weeks yet. Driving up towards Gordon Town I passed through hairpin curves that had been bulldozed clear--one lane wide with dirt piled up above the car on both sides. (In itself an unstable situation which will cause more mischief if any more storms hit the island during the rest of hurricane season).

The government here is expecting recovery from Ivan to take up to six months. Agriculture was hit especially hard in other regions, such as the St. Elizabeth and Mandeville areas. With much demand and no supply of fresh produce, inflation is also expected to rise. This is sad, because the government was apparently making strong efforts to have an inflation rate of less than 10% by the end of 2004. Chances of their success are much lower now.

This particular picture is of the road ascending Jack's Hill, a suburb on the north side of Kingston. I arrived here on Thursday to find the road like this, and it has not changed in the intervening week and a half. The road crews have many more pressing matters to fix elsewhere, as this dropoff seems to have stabilized due to the lack of extensive rains since Ivan passed through.

focal 6mm, ISO 50

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