A second community, Melbrook Heights in St. Andrew, has been identified by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to benefit from low-cost landslide mitigation strategies and training under the World Bank-funded Community-Based Landslide Risk Reduction Project (CBLRRP).
Melbrook Heights has demonstrated the key characteristics of a community for intervention, having met the criteria of a compact settlement, which is at risk from natural hazards such as flooding and land slippages.
Four communities are to be selected under the programme where the Management of Slope Stabilisation in Communities (MoSSaiC) methodology, developed by a team of researchers from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, Professor Malcolm Anderson and Dr. Elizabeth Holcombe,is to be implemented.
At the recent launch of the pilot in Harbour Heights at the Harbour View Open Bible Church, Project Manager for the CBLRRMP at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Management (ODPEM) Kirk Frankson, disclosed that the project, slated to be driven by the community, was expected to run for six months and would involve the implementation of several micro mitigation measures.
“This is a project that will benefit critical facilities in Harbour View and its environs and utilises community-based contracting. When we say it is a community project, it means the community will not only need to own the project, but will need to help drive the activities,” he said.
A sum of $50 million has been budgeted for the Harbour Heights project, which is part of a US$2.375million grant from the World Bank to ODPEM to carry out the CBLRRP strategy.
The project will see the erecting of a network of strategically placed drains, channels and rainwater harvesting systems that will act as natural hazard intervention techniques.
One key element of the project, Mr. Frankson, is the utilisation of local labour, through an internal community contractual strategy, which will be overseen by a committee of residents to maintain transparency and balance, while ensuring quality.
World Bank Representative, Maricarmen Esquivel, said the project, the first of its kind for the English-speaking Caribbean, will add value to Harbour Heights.
“It is very exciting to see all the excellent work and the community spirit so I am taking that (back) with me. It’s been an honour to be among you. So congratulations and I really am looking forward to the success of the project,” she said.
President of the Harbour Heights Citizens Association, Andrew Foster, expressed gratitude to the World Bank and ODPEM, noting that the project will address flooding and landslides in the community.
“Many mornings, we want to go to work, but can’t, because the water is up to our knees, so we feel very proud to have this project in our community. Now the people can live a better life,” he stated.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO