Recovery efforts in the flood-damaged community of Weise Road in Bull Bay, St. Andrew are being accelerated with the assistance of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
The recent heavy rains caused the nearby Chalky River to break its banks, depositing silt and stones onto the roads and into homes.
Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., visited the area on Friday (Nov. 20), where soldiers were engaged in clearing roads and assisting residents to remove debris from their homes.
Private Lawrence of the JDF, told JIS News that the clean-up activities in Weise Road started on November 11 and will continue until the residents are able to resume their normal lives.
“We will be here for approximately three weeks, but if we see more work to do, we may extend it and stay a little longer to help out the residents in the area. It is heartbreaking to see this devastation and we are here to assist them,” he said.
Earnest Mason, who has lived in Weise Road for over 30 years said the magnitude of the damage was the worst he has ever seen. He said he is “happy for this help” from the JDF.
Minister Charles Jr., said that the Government is committed to assisting residents to recover and to strengthen the country’s climate resilience programme.
“What we are seeing here is the devastation from the impact of climate change –the intense and more frequent rainfall and what it can do. This highlights the need for us to not just talk about the agenda but to also move to take action to make sure that in how we build, in how we think, in what we do, resilience is at the forefront,” he said.
Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, the Most. Hon. Juliet Holness, who was also on the tour, said that the challenging issue of flooding in the community is compounded by the devastating impact of climate change.
“With the volume of water that we see and the amount of silt and material that is coming down from Gordon Town, Mavis Bank, Kintyre, it stands to reason that this is going to be challenging to maintain given climate change conditions,” she said, noting that greater effort will be required to protect life and property.
Minister Charles Jr., who was accompanied by a team from the Ministry’s Climate Change Division, also toured the Palisados Revetment; the Port Royal Street Revetment Project, where a seawall is under construction; and the Cane River main road where large sections have collapsed.