Govt providing funds for flood-ravaged MoBay

Thursday, November 23, 2017

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Government has committed to provide emergency funding to assist in the recovery effort in Montego Bay, which was severely affected by heavy rainfall yesterday.

Already $20 million has been identified and will be made immediately available.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that Montego Bay received three-and-a-half inches of rainfall over a four hour period, resulting in extensive damage to both private and public infrastructure. There has been no recorded loss of life.

Speaking at a press conference today at the St James Municipal Corporation following a tour of the affected areas, Holness said that he will make allocation from the budget.

“There will be some emergency allocation. Recently in Parliament I announced there would be some programme of patching; we will have to now take a second look at the supplementary estimates that we intended to table in Parliament next week because this will call for some additional funding,” he said.

The prime minister noted that the significant weather event brings into sharp focus the great threat of climate change and is calling for people to become more aware of the issue.
He added that intense weather events are becoming more frequent and government must put in place measures, such as building with greater capacity, to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

“Our behaviour is somehow linked to these kinds of intense weather event. The issue is how do we build the infrastructure and treat the infrastructure to prevent the devastating effect of heavy rainfall.

“Government will now have to find resources to expand gullies, to pave areas that are not paved and there's the issue of where people choose to live. Living on the banks of the gully should not be a place where people choose to live. We need to get our citizens to start acting responsibly,” Holness said.

Noting that the tourism sector has not been affected significantly, the prime minister said Montego Bay is still open for business and the people have shown an incredible resilience of spirit.

Holness urged the Parish Council to ensure that all blocked drains are cleared and applauded the Municipal Corporation for their incredible response in the clean-up effort.

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