Sun | Aug 18, 2019

Drought alleviation programme being developed - Vaz

Published:Thursday | July 18, 2019 | 10:27 AM
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz - File photo

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, says the Ministry is in the process of preparing a programme of drought alleviation for submission to Cabinet.

Vaz, in his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament Tuesday, highlighted that Jamaica continues to face higher temperatures and decreased rainfall.

Higher Temperature

He disclosed that a sample of data taken from the island’s weather stations shows that all stations experienced higher extreme temperatures in June when compared to June 2018.

This, he noted, was more than 50% of recording increases of 1.5 degrees or more and that in some cases, the increase was almost four degrees. 

“A couple of Saturdays ago, Jamaica experienced an unprecedented 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Researchers say these record-breaking temperatures are made five times more likely by the effects of climate change,” Vaz said.

Drought

In addition to the extreme heat, Vaz pointed out that Jamaica is also dealing with a drought which is affecting much of the island.   

“In a traditional year, by this time in July, we would have encountered a Dry Season running from December to about April with just a few incidences of rainfall occurring mainly over Portland and sections of St Mary and then gradually impacting parishes in the west before the real Rainfall Season begins in May.

“This year has shown a distinct shift in pattern where north-eastern Jamaica, including Portland and parts of St Mary, have generally been receiving less than half of their normal rainfall, while parishes in the west have, in most cases, been enjoying above-normal activity. 

As a result, Vaz said that this has had dire consequences for persons living in Kingston and St Andrew. 

And according to him, a moderate to severe drought is affecting sections of St Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon, St Catherine, Kingston & St Andrew, St Thomas, Portland, St Mary, and St Ann, almost 70% of the country.

“The most recent projections from the Meteorological Service’s seasonal climate forecast model for the next few months through to September 2019 indicate that temperatures are likely to remain hotter than normal with near-normal to below-normal rainfall. 

“Note that temperatures in Jamaica are expected to be at their highest during July or August each year, and the next peak in the traditional rainfall profile for the country is not expected until October 2019.”

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