Thu | Nov 26, 2020

We must guard against flooding, urges MoBay mayor

Published:Friday | November 13, 2020 | 12:17 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Mayor of Montego Bay Leeroy Williams.
Mayor of Montego Bay Leeroy Williams.

WESTERN BUREAU:

With indications that the country could continue to experience adverse weather conditions for weeks to come, Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams is urging Jamaicans to take the necessary preventive measures to prevent potential disasters.

“We should seek to prevent destruction from heavy floods by paying attention to the maintenance of our drains, and as a people, we should avoid dumping waste in our gullies. This is so apt because at this time, we are experiencing bad-weather conditions and flooding, particularly in the eastern part of the island,” said Williams while addressing yesterday’s monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC).

DEVASTATING LOSS

Since last month, sections of Jamaica have experienced intermittent showers and isolated thunderstorms as a result of unstable weather across the western Caribbean. Several parishes, mainly in the eastern and southern sections of the island, have also experienced multibillion-dollar devastation due to floods and landslides. Several farms have also taken a hit, with estimates of losses also in the billions.

Williams, who is also chairman of the StJMC, cited a 2019 publication from the Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which stated that 408 natural disasters affected the Caribbean region between 1990 and 2017.

“The countries that suffered the highest numbers of disasters were Haiti with 90, the Dominican Republic with 59, and Cuba with 53. Thankfully, Jamaica has been spared a direct hit [from a tropical storm or hurricane] so far [this year], but Jamaica has been severely affected by heavy rains from the outer bands from Hurricanes Zeta and Eta,” said Williams in reference to the two most recent storms that affected the island.

“We need to promote actions aimed at preventing, mitigating, responding to, and recovering from the impact of disasters on people’s lives and well-being. The flooding [in eastern Jamaica] is going to cost the country a substantial amount of money, so whatever can be done to prepare for such flooding, we need to make sure that as citizens, we do the right thing,” added Williams.

ECLAC’s December 2007 disaster risk management assessment notes that Jamaica’s position in the north-western Caribbean basin makes it particularly 4vulnerable to natural hazards such as hurricanes and floods.

Eta, which is now affecting the United States, is the 28th named Atlantic storm this hurricane season, tying the 2005 record for named storms.

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