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'We are worried'

Family fears losing home to erosion; minister says help on the way

BY EVERARD OWEN
Observer writer

Monday, July 08, 2019

One Portland family has had sleepless nights since discovering the rapid rate at which land erosion has been taking place, threatening to destroy the place family members have called home for decades.

The Jones' family house, located near the sea at Wharf Road in Orange Bay in the parish, is in danger of being eroded due to persistent waves from the nearby sea.

“The sea wave has been coming in and has washed away most of the soil. I have been living here for over 50 years and look at it — there is a pit and it is about to go. I use to hang the clothes out back and a part is gone. We are worried. The [National] Works Agency (NWA) come and say they will do something. They placed some stone out there near to the road that was broken away, but turn now and see the damage now. We [are] begging for some help,” she pleaded.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with responsibility for Land, Environment, Climate Change and Investments, Daryl Vaz told Jamaica Observer North & East that he is aware of the situation and that already “we are trying to get some emergency fund to deal with the situation”.

Vaz, who is also the Member of Parliament for Portland Western, said, however, that there is a larger seashore protection project to begin soon which will cover the coastline from Annotto Bay in St Mary to St Margaret's Bay in Portland. He said the funds have already been identified.

At the same time, the NWA's Roger Smith mentioned that the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) has identified some funding, while his agency will be responsible for the implementation of the project.

“The work will be prioritised and Orange Bay will be done in two phases — I and II. An international company, Smith Warner, has done the designs and it's three quarter way through, as the design is being fine-tuned and the costing is to be had.

“This will require a lot of boulders, and we are looking at how we can get them transported to the area. Contractors have been identified and the tenders are to be done so that work can start about November of this year. The work along the coastline will be done according to the highest priority. The funding is through the Adaptation Fund from the World Bank,” he pointed out.