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PNP calls for comprehensive fix to flood problem

Friday, January 12, 2018

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JAMAICA'S Opposition People's National Party's (PNP) has asked the Government to develop and implement a comprehensive flood mitigation programme for the entire island to ease the human suffering and economic dislocation caused by the frequent flood rains being experienced by the country.

Shadow Minister of Transport and Works Mikael Phillips, in a statement yesterday, said the level of residential and infrastructural damage caused by last week's flood rains in St Ann, St Mary and Portland were extremely high, and the country will now be faced with high repair bills for roads and bridges. In addition, he said, small farmers were facing economic disaster.

Phillips said that in some cases the damage was even worse than anticipated because of poor or inadequate work done on National Works Agency (NWA) and parish council projects. He said a bridge in Dumbarton, St Ann, is a prime example of a recently constructed box culvert which did not benefit from river training support to protect the culvert, resulting in the structural damage to both the roadway and culvert. In other cases, he said, infrastructure damage caused by last May's flood rains had received no attention and this worsened the plight of citizens to access their homes and farms.

“… With the effects of climate change on Jamaica's weather pattern in recent times, the Government must embark on a new programme to modernise and improve the country's ability to handle the new type of rainfall patterns. It has been over 50 years since the last major flood mitigation investment and surely the country could not afford to postpone the development and implementation of a new plan to protect the country's expensive and vital infrastructure,“ said Phillips, whose PNP was voted from Government less that two years ago.

“The Government must make the flood mitigation programme as an item of priority for the Cabinet retreat and take immediate steps to allocate additional resources to the affected parishes,“ Phillips said.

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