Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Rio Grande Valley in Portland under threat

Published:Monday | April 25, 2016 | 4:03 PM
The partially collapsed roadway at Comfort Castle in Portland.

Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer  

The already bad situation in the Rio Grande Valley in Portland is threatening to get worse, as heavy rains continue to batter the farming community.

With three houses already destroyed by landslides at Mill Bank, along with the loss of a swinging bridge linking the communities of Ginger House and Cornwall Barracks, reports of continuous mudslides and wide-scale flooding have surfaced.

According to Errol Hanna, who is assisting with the relief efforts being coordinated by Daryl Vaz through the office of the Prime Minister, more than eight hours of heavy downpour have further compounded the plights faced by residents at Mill Bank, Comfort Castle, and Berrydale.

He says two shops that were inundated at Berrydale Thursday night were again affected last night as the nearby Rio Grande overflowed its banks.

Hanna says several residents, whom he spoke to by telephone this morning, expressed concerns that continuous rainfall could lead to more blocked roads- leaving them marooned in communities that are prone to flooding.

A team from the National Works Agency (NWA) is slated to tour the badly ravaged Rio Grande valley to assess the damage done to its road network today.

PHOTO: Daryl Vaz

Meanwhile, Minister without portfolio in the office of the Prime Minister, Daryl Vaz, says so far, medication and other supplies have been distributed to affected residents.

Vaz, who is also the MP for Portland Western, has been charged with the responsibility of coordinating the relief efforts and to ensure that the relevant state agencies including the Labour and Social Security Ministry conduct the necessary assessments.

He says a team from the labour and social security ministry visited Mill Bank and other sections of the Rio Grande Valley yesterday.

There has been extensive damage to the road network in the area and other infrastructure.