Archive for the ‘Hurricane Dean’ Category

>More of the Storm

August 24, 2007

>I said the other day that Red Stripe and Appleton helped us cope with the storm, but really it was the thoughts and prayers of our friends and families, and our limited contact that gave us reassurance.

We lost internet access Saturday, and for some of us our cell phones would not work to call the states. But we discovered we could send and recieve text messages, so updates like these let us know where the storm was and what was being reported at home. Until we lost that ability at the height of the storm as well.

Thanks Bobby and Ted. Ted reported the National Hurricane Center updates, Bobby reported off the Weather Channel. Your updates kept us informed and just being in contact, even electronically was conforting.

I want someone who understands these things to tell me why my verizon phone (which does not have international capability) was able to transmit text but not voice.

Of course we did have battery powered radio and good information was available there also, but we liked getting information from our families.

Jamaican hospitality and concern are top notch. On the day after the storm, when public transportation was cut off and everyone was dealing with their own problems, the kitchen staff showed up and prepared us lunch. One woman told me they were concerned about us and thought we needed a hot meal. Jamaicans who were involved with our course returned to check on us. Here is Dr. Brendan Bain of Kingston who lectured us on HIV and AIDS checking on us after the storm.

And we were able to make our presentations and have a celebration on Monday night, thanks to a generator and a gas stove. Here is Mr. Henroy Scarlett of UWI receiving an award from Madhav Bhatta of the Sparkman Center for Global Health while Dr. Stephanie Brodine of San Diego State University looks on.

My group was the mosquito group and here we are (minus Stephanie and Maung, two Jamaican students who are also public health officers in their parishes) with our instructor Mr. Trevor Castle, a retired entomologist from UWI who knows literally everything there is to know about the mosquito vectors of Jamaica.

On the night before the storm, several locals came by to make sure the Americans felt secure for the next day before going to their homes or shelters to endure the storm.

That will probably end my hurricane coverage for this blog, unless I come across pictures that I can’t resist sharing. But I will post next week some information about Jamaica and the communities we worked in.

And thanks to all of you who sent emails, texts, calls, thoughts and prayers before, during and after the storm. Your well wishes are greatly appreciated.

More of the Storm

August 24, 2007

I said the other day that Red Stripe and Appleton helped us cope with the storm, but really it was the thoughts and prayers of our friends and families, and our limited contact that gave us reassurance.

We lost internet access Saturday, and for some of us our cell phones would not work to call the states. But we discovered we could send and recieve text messages, so updates like these let us know where the storm was and what was being reported at home. Until we lost that ability at the height of the storm as well.

Thanks Bobby and Ted. Ted reported the National Hurricane Center updates, Bobby reported off the Weather Channel. Your updates kept us informed and just being in contact, even electronically was conforting.

I want someone who understands these things to tell me why my verizon phone (which does not have international capability) was able to transmit text but not voice.

Of course we did have battery powered radio and good information was available there also, but we liked getting information from our families.

Jamaican hospitality and concern are top notch. On the day after the storm, when public transportation was cut off and everyone was dealing with their own problems, the kitchen staff showed up and prepared us lunch. One woman told me they were concerned about us and thought we needed a hot meal. Jamaicans who were involved with our course returned to check on us. Here is Dr. Brendan Bain of Kingston who lectured us on HIV and AIDS checking on us after the storm.

And we were able to make our presentations and have a celebration on Monday night, thanks to a generator and a gas stove. Here is Mr. Henroy Scarlett of UWI receiving an award from Madhav Bhatta of the Sparkman Center for Global Health while Dr. Stephanie Brodine of San Diego State University looks on.

My group was the mosquito group and here we are (minus Stephanie and Maung, two Jamaican students who are also public health officers in their parishes) with our instructor Mr. Trevor Castle, a retired entomologist from UWI who knows literally everything there is to know about the mosquito vectors of Jamaica.

On the night before the storm, several locals came by to make sure the Americans felt secure for the next day before going to their homes or shelters to endure the storm.

That will probably end my hurricane coverage for this blog, unless I come across pictures that I can’t resist sharing. But I will post next week some information about Jamaica and the communities we worked in.

And thanks to all of you who sent emails, texts, calls, thoughts and prayers before, during and after the storm. Your well wishes are greatly appreciated.

>Jamaica: After Dean

August 23, 2007

>We did not venture out Sunday night after the storm because gusts were still occuring and things could still be falling and flying. Also, there was debris and nails and power lines down and even with flashlights (torchlights they say) it didn’t seem safe.

So Monday morning we ventured out. Palm trees are made for hurricanes, because few were down. Their leaves were shredded and some of the leaves broken or stripped off, but the trunks were standing, and they will survive. This is outside our room. Deciduous trees seemed to suffer more.

Wooden manmade structures are not made for hurricanes, as this arbor did not make it.

It takes a strong wind to blow a chain link fence over…seems like the wind could just go through it.

These chunks of wood almost made it through the fence

We use chain saws…they use machetes. The guy on the bike is security.


The streets of Kingston were littered with debris and downed power lines. but the Kingston residents are right back in business, as this fruit stand has reopened and has a customer. People have to eat.

Small shrubs and flowers did not fare well. Before and after. I think this one will be blooming again before summer ends.

But the day we left the sun rose on beautiful tropical Jamaica tempting us to find a a way to stay. But that temptation didn’t last, and soon we were on our way to the airport. Once there, power outages (don’t you think a generator at an airport would be a good idea?) caused delays and frustation among the hundreds of passengers. But the airline employees had the upper hand,and held their composure even though they had to process each passport and write out each ticket by hand.

The air was still and hot and the waiting areas were dark and we sat for a couple of hours with ipods and cameras. We sweated and we waited with the masses.


Finally our flight number was announced and we made our way to the plane, confident that within a few hours we would be home.

Jamaica: After Dean

August 23, 2007

We did not venture out Sunday night after the storm because gusts were still occuring and things could still be falling and flying. Also, there was debris and nails and power lines down and even with flashlights (torchlights they say) it didn’t seem safe.

So Monday morning we ventured out. Palm trees are made for hurricanes, because few were down. Their leaves were shredded and some of the leaves broken or stripped off, but the trunks were standing, and they will survive. This is outside our room. Deciduous trees seemed to suffer more.

Wooden manmade structures are not made for hurricanes, as this arbor did not make it.

It takes a strong wind to blow a chain link fence over…seems like the wind could just go through it.

These chunks of wood almost made it through the fence

We use chain saws…they use machetes. The guy on the bike is security.


The streets of Kingston were littered with debris and downed power lines. but the Kingston residents are right back in business, as this fruit stand has reopened and has a customer. People have to eat.

Small shrubs and flowers did not fare well. Before and after. I think this one will be blooming again before summer ends.

But the day we left the sun rose on beautiful tropical Jamaica tempting us to find a a way to stay. But that temptation didn’t last, and soon we were on our way to the airport. Once there, power outages (don’t you think a generator at an airport would be a good idea?) caused delays and frustation among the hundreds of passengers. But the airline employees had the upper hand,and held their composure even though they had to process each passport and write out each ticket by hand.

The air was still and hot and the waiting areas were dark and we sat for a couple of hours with ipods and cameras. We sweated and we waited with the masses.


Finally our flight number was announced and we made our way to the plane, confident that within a few hours we would be home.

No Prob, Mon

August 22, 2007

We arrived in Birmingham around 10:30 last night from Kingston, Jamaica, all safe and accounted for. The local media has picked up this story, and today (the first day of classes for us at UAB’s School of Public Health) we held a press conference for them. You will hear students interviewed (and read in the paper), and see some pictures tonight (Wednesday) on TV. But only here will you get the true inside story on how we survived hurricane Dean. The satellite view was from NOAA and the graphics were from AccuWeather.


Really, all the interviews are truthful, and we never felt that our lives were threatened by the storm because our hosts from UWI Mona were trained in hurricane preparedness as were many of the students. The higher ups were aware of the storm as it was approaching, and did try to make arrangements for us to leave, but counting the San Diego State students there were about 30 people to move, and it couldn’t be done.

We were glad to stay and complete our work in Kingston. We will benefit from the experience of the field work, and we will benefit from experiencing a category 4 hurricane together. So I think our group will benefit from this course more than any group in the past.

I will post stories about the storm and our work over the next few days. People seem to be most interested in the storm, so I will start there.

I said we never felt threatened, but in truth, Red Stripe and Appleton Estates helped ease the anxiety as the storm approached and pounded down on us.


Customary it seems in the United States is to spray paint plywood or sheets with messages for the approaching storm. We were low on sheets and used no plywood, but I sacrificed a shirt for the cause. It must have worked, because something made Dean slightly change his course and stay off the coast, if only for a few miles.

The winds at UWI were estimated to be 100-120 mph. The noise was bothersome, and came in with unpredictable frequency, from winds building in intensity over about 4 or 5 hours, then maintaining high intensity for a couple of hours, followed by several hours of decreasing intensity with unexpected strong bursts. There was lots and lots of rain, I’m not sure how much, I haven’t seen the reports.

The day after the storm we assisted a little in cleaning up the area around our part of the campus, and in the afternoon a group went out to Mona Commons, a community they had done some previous work in and assisted them with recovery. They also delivered several hundred dollars of school supplies that we had brought for that community. I will put some “after” pictures on here tomorrow.

>No Prob, Mon

August 22, 2007

>We arrived in Birmingham around 10:30 last night from Kingston, Jamaica, all safe and accounted for. The local media has picked up this story, and today (the first day of classes for us at UAB’s School of Public Health) we held a press conference for them. You will hear students interviewed (and read in the paper), and see some pictures tonight (Wednesday) on TV. But only here will you get the true inside story on how we survived hurricane Dean. The satellite view was from NOAA and the graphics were from AccuWeather.


Really, all the interviews are truthful, and we never felt that our lives were threatened by the storm because our hosts from UWI Mona were trained in hurricane preparedness as were many of the students. The higher ups were aware of the storm as it was approaching, and did try to make arrangements for us to leave, but counting the San Diego State students there were about 30 people to move, and it couldn’t be done.

We were glad to stay and complete our work in Kingston. We will benefit from the experience of the field work, and we will benefit from experiencing a category 4 hurricane together. So I think our group will benefit from this course more than any group in the past.

I will post stories about the storm and our work over the next few days. People seem to be most interested in the storm, so I will start there.

I said we never felt threatened, but in truth, Red Stripe and Appleton Estates helped ease the anxiety as the storm approached and pounded down on us.


Customary it seems in the United States is to spray paint plywood or sheets with messages for the approaching storm. We were low on sheets and used no plywood, but I sacrificed a shirt for the cause. It must have worked, because something made Dean slightly change his course and stay off the coast, if only for a few miles.

The winds at UWI were estimated to be 100-120 mph. The noise was bothersome, and came in with unpredictable frequency, from winds building in intensity over about 4 or 5 hours, then maintaining high intensity for a couple of hours, followed by several hours of decreasing intensity with unexpected strong bursts. There was lots and lots of rain, I’m not sure how much, I haven’t seen the reports.

The day after the storm we assisted a little in cleaning up the area around our part of the campus, and in the afternoon a group went out to Mona Commons, a community they had done some previous work in and assisted them with recovery. They also delivered several hundred dollars of school supplies that we had brought for that community. I will put some “after” pictures on here tomorrow.

Jamaica Part 3

August 18, 2007

Well here we go. It’s Saturday August 18 and Dean will be here in about 28 hours. Our fun stuff has been cancelled, we were to go to Ocho Rios today for a day at the beach and waterfalls. No No.

We are hunkered down at UWI and have plenty of supplies and water. Our buildings are concrete and have withstood powerful storms before. http://www.mona.uwi.edu/

We have notified the U S. embassy of our presence, and have made contact plans for getting in touch with our loved ones in the states.

We are 28 Americans, from UAB and San Diego State University.The Jamaicans in our group are mostly public health workers from across the nation, so almost all have been called back to their parishes to prepare and assist in recovery.

Here is information about the storm: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml? Maybe it will be current.

We are not sure of when the airport will reopen. Our tickets are for Tuesday, but there is a good chance there will be flooding at the airport and that building I wrote about earlier may just get blown away.

There is a lot I wouild like to write about regarding the good work we have done over the last few days, but that will just have to wait. Maybe we will be able to do some good work after the storm passes. When I get home I can write about the good stuff.

In the meantime read some of our journals at http://www.soph.uab.edu/jamaicacourse/JournalHome.html

See ya back in the states.

joe

>Jamaica Part 3

August 18, 2007

>Well here we go. It’s Saturday August 18 and Dean will be here in about 28 hours. Our fun stuff has been cancelled, we were to go to Ocho Rios today for a day at the beach and waterfalls. No No.

We are hunkered down at UWI and have plenty of supplies and water. Our buildings are concrete and have withstood powerful storms before. http://www.mona.uwi.edu/

We have notified the U S. embassy of our presence, and have made contact plans for getting in touch with our loved ones in the states.

We are 28 Americans, from UAB and San Diego State University.The Jamaicans in our group are mostly public health workers from across the nation, so almost all have been called back to their parishes to prepare and assist in recovery.

Here is information about the storm: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/index.shtml? Maybe it will be current.

We are not sure of when the airport will reopen. Our tickets are for Tuesday, but there is a good chance there will be flooding at the airport and that building I wrote about earlier may just get blown away.

There is a lot I wouild like to write about regarding the good work we have done over the last few days, but that will just have to wait. Maybe we will be able to do some good work after the storm passes. When I get home I can write about the good stuff.

In the meantime read some of our journals at http://www.soph.uab.edu/jamaicacourse/JournalHome.html

See ya back in the states.

joe