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Time to fix the nation's flooding problem — PNP

Thursday, January 11, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party's (PNP) Spokesperson on transport and works, Mikael Phillips, is calling on the Government to develop and implement a comprehensive flood mitigation programme for the entire island.

Phillips said the programme is needed to ease the human suffering and economic dislocation caused by the frequent flood rains being experienced by the country.

Citing the “extremely high” level of residential and infrastructural damage caused by last week's flood rains in St Ann, St Mary and Portland the Opposition spokesperson said the country is faced with a high repair bills for roads and bridges and small farmers are facing economic disaster.

He said, 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.

“The bridge in Dumbarton, St Ann, was 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,” Phillips pointed out.

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.

He further argued that 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.

The PNP spokesperson said the resources available to the NWA to assist residents of the three affected parishes are not enough and called on the government to make the flood mitigation programme an item of priority for the Cabinet retreat and take immediate steps to allocate additional resources to the affected parishes.

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