Gov’t Provides Additional Funds for Emergency Works in East Portland

Story Highlights

  • The Government will be providing an additional $5 million to carry out further emergency works in sections of East Portland that were severely affected by heavy rains last week.
  • This was announced by State Minister for Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, following a tour of the worst affected areas of the parish on December 9.
  • Heavy rains lashed Portland for several hours on December 1, which resulted in homes being destroyed or flooded out, land slippage, and devastation to crops.

The Government will be providing an additional $5 million to carry out further emergency works in sections of East Portland that were severely affected by heavy rains last week.

This was announced by State Minister for Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, following a tour of the worst affected areas of the parish on December 9.

Heavy rains lashed Portland for several hours on December 1, which resulted in homes being destroyed or flooded out, land slippage, and devastation to crops.

Mr. Azan noted that an assessment would have to be done to determine the amount of funding required for the longer-term repairs to roads and infrastructure.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, who was also on the tour, noted that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), as well as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, has done some intervention in terms of providing mattresses, tarpaulin and foodstuff for the most needy families.

“We are now going to put together a package to see how we can best respond from the Local Government side. Already, the (Portland Parish) Council has spent in the region of $3 million to $4 million to do minimal work,” he informed.

Mr. Arscott said a “comprehensive approach” will to be taken to address the recurring problems caused by heavy rainfall in Portland and other parts of the island.

He noted that a team from ODPEM has already started work to identify vulnerable areas across the island, with the aim to formulate a national plan on how to treat with them.

“It will not be an urgent or quick fix, but certainly, after we have developed the list, we are going to look at what are the best methods that we can find to relocate some persons or to build some resilience in terms of the infrastructure such as (installing) gabions and dredging. It will be a comprehensive programme to educate as well as relocate persons in vulnerable areas,” he said.

For his part, he suggested that areas can be looked at for the development of housing schemes where people can be relocated.

In terms of the roadway in West Retreat which has broken away, Mr. Azan informed that a technical team visited the area on Tuesday, December 8, and is currently undertaking design work, which is expected to be completed by the end of the week. He said it is estimated that the Government will have to secure funding of between $35 million and $40 million to carry out the repairs.

The areas visited included Spring Bank Road, Chilli Lane, Barford, Comfort Castle, Mill Bank, Bellevue Road, Seaview Farms and Fellowship-Moore Town where the roadway is being rehabilitated under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP).

The touring party also included Member of Parliament for East Portland, Dr. Lynvale Bloomfield; Mayor of Port Antonio, Wayne McKenzie; as well as teams from ODPEM and the National Works Agency (NWA).

 

JIS Social