KINGSTON –– The Government says it has allocated $175 million in emergency funding to address critical infrastructure repairs in six of the parishes worst affected by adverse weather in recent weeks.According to Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, the allocation is primarily to facilitate the restoration of access to communities.
“As is well known, the rains from the surface trough that came to Jamaica three weeks ago, as well as the trough that is affecting parts of the island now, have resulted in flooding and land slippages, thus creating various problems for many citizens,” McKenzie said in a release yesterday.
“It is with this in mind that the decision to release these funds to the municipal corporations of the worst-affected parishes has been made,” he added
He also indicated that all municipal corporations would receive funding for Phase 1 of the annual mitigation programme.
“The recurrence of the moderate to heavy rains, and the additional damage caused in such a short time, are precisely why we are undertaking the review of existing structures, particularly in town centres and other urbanised areas of the country, to see where drainage capacity can be significantly expanded in the short to medium term,” he said.
“As I announced in parliament on April 25, our ministry will collaborate with the National Works Agency to ensure, thereafter, that an infrastructure programme is developed to successfully address the problem of flooding,” he noted.
Yesterday, the National Water Commission (NWC) reported that some of its customers in Clarendon, St Catherine, St Thomas, and rural St Andrew were without water as a result of poor water quality from continuous rainfall on the weekend.
In Clarendon, the affected communities are those served by the treatment plants at Kellits, New Ground, Peace River, Drummond Spring, Aenon Town, and Rock River. In St Catherine, Lluidas Vale and Worthy Park are without water. In St Thomas – Easington, Norris, Red Hills, Raywood, Heartease, Logwood, Airy Castle, Grosset, Spring Top, Nickle Hill and Rock Brook; while Hall’s Delight, Bryan Ridge and Robertsfield account for those in rural St Andrew.
In a release to the press, the NWC apologised for any inconvenience and sought to assure customers that their regular water supply would be restored “in the shortest possible time”.
Member of Parliament for St Mary Western, Robert Montague is reporting severe structural and other damage to infrastructure, houses and crops in his constituency as a result of heavy rains currently affecting the island.
“Right now based on a preliminary assessment, it is not nice at all.
“Considering the constituency suffered from heavy rains just recently, this latest deluge has further worsened the situation.
“Bridges have been damaged, roads have been rendered impassable, and the really difficult part is that farmers have lost a good portion of their crops,” Montague told Observer Online.
Montague is also urging people to report any damage as quickly as possible and to stay indoors during rainfall.
The bridge that connects Pembroke Hall to Carron Hall is damaged.
The Gayle to Guy’s Hill road is damaged at several points and has come apart at Lucky Hill.
The Dressike to Oracabessa main road is damaged in Dressike, Crescent and Greenwood.