Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Hanover flooding requires national response - Mayor of Lucea

Published:Tuesday | May 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater and Bryan Miller/Gleaner Writers
Sheridan Samuels
Photo by Adrian Frater The Riley River in Hanover back to normal on Monday, May 21, 2018 after over flowing its banks last Thursday into the weekend.

Western Bureau:

While residents of Lucea in Hanover are now seeking to put their lives back together after last week's devastating rains, the town's mayor, Councillor Sheridan Samuels, has blamed the flooding on climate change and has called for a national response to address the situation.

"The Government has to now take serious thought as to how to resolve what is happening at the Riley area (the river at the eastern entrance to the town)," said Samuels. "It is either we have to do some dredging of the harbour or something, but we definitely have to do some major work in that area.

"We also need to start taking a serious look at constructing a bypass road to the town of Lucea," said the mayor, who could do nothing to alleviate the situation as numerous motorists, including visitors heading to Sangster International Airport, were left stranded because of the flooding.

"This time it was not because of poor maintenance. Based on what we are seeing now, it is really climate change and the fact that the town of Lucea is below sea level why the major flooding is taking place in the town now," said Samuels, who noted that the Hanover Municipal Corporation has been very proactive in clearing the drains in recent months

The extensive flooding, which did significant infrastructural damage and inundated several business places, homes and at least one church, was described by residents as the worst seen in recent memory.

"I have been living here for over 40 years and I have never seen anything like this, not even Hurricane Gilbert," said a householder who watched helplessly as four-foot-high water flowed through her house. "Everything is damaged - sofa, beds, fridge, television, you name it. And the bad thing is that I have nowhere else to go, so I just have to stay here and hope for the best."

"The assessment by the municipal corporation is showing that all seven divisions in the parish have been affected, with Western Hanover mostly affected. As a matter of fact, when you look at the road network, especially in the Green Island, Cauldwell, Riverside and Lucea divisions (all in the western end of the parish), most of the roads are 80 per cent to 90 per cent damaged," reported Samuels.