'Too many illegal structures on riverbeds, gully banks and blocking drains'

Friday, September 22, 2017

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LOCAL Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie this week told residents of Clarendon that they have an important role to play to mitigate the effects of natural disasters.

“I have told the mayor (of May Pen) that it is time for the municipality to pay close attention to how people build in the parish of Clarendon. Too many illegal structures are being constructed in riverbeds, on gully banks, and blocking drains. These are all contributing factors to flooding,” the minister said.

During a tour Wednesday of some areas in Clarendon that were affected during the April floods, McKenzie said the parish is at the top of the list of places in the island known to be vulnerable to natural disasters, and that the physical infrastructure cannot take any more battering.

After the tour, the minister addressed residents at a town hall meeting at Edwin Allen High School.

He told the audience that there are 47 shelters in the parish, covering a wide area, including Aenon Town, Spalding, Kellitts, Ritchies, and Frankfield. The Government, he said, would be providing money to retrofit one main shelter in the northern part of Clarendon.

The minister noted that most of the present shelters are school buildings, which are not conducive to providing for the needs of those who use it.

“What we have done is to provide money to retrofit one main shelter in the northern part of Clarendon in case there is a need for it. This shelter will be a lot more comfortable than schools. We will also have two 40-foot containers stocked with the necessary supplies, such as water and other basic supplies. One will be located in Kellitts and the other in Frankfield at the police station,” he said.

The Minister noted that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the parish disaster coordinator will ensure that everything is in place to respond in the event of disaster.




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