Gov't prepared to order mandatory evacuations this hurricane season
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says the Government is prepared to order the mandatory evacuation of flood prone areas this Atlantic Hurricane season.
McKenzie says the Government has a responsibility to protect lives in the event of a natural disaster.
He says in the past persons living in these areas have ignored warnings to evacuate.
McKenzie says the Government takes the preservation of life seriously and will use its powers under the law to get persons to safety.
He notes that Under the Disaster Risk Act, the Prime Minister can declare any place as a threat or disaster area and as such he can give an order of evacuation.
The local government minister was speaking yesterday at the launch of Disaster Preparedness Month and observance of the start of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
McKenzie said he will open the debate on the Building Bill in Parliament next week.
One of the objectives of the legislation is to prevent squatting.
McKenzie disclosed that there are 754 informal settlements across the country with a population of over 600,000.
He said 585 of the areas have been mapped and it was found that 138 of them lie within 100 metres of waterways.