Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Cabinet to discuss additional allocations for recovery efforts

Published:Monday | November 20, 2023 | 9:08 AM
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness (centre), tours sections of St Thomas on November 19 to assess the aftermath of the heavy rains, which affected the island recently. With Holness are, from second left, Member of Parliament, St Thomas Eastern, Dr Michelle Charles; St Thomas Western MP, James Robertson; and Councillor, Dalvey Division, Michael Mcleod. - Contributed photo.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that Cabinet will on Monday discuss additional allocations that are to be made to continue recovery efforts in the aftermath of the recent heavy rains.

“We have made some allocations already in the budget. We made some reserves in the budget to be able to address these kinds of events. I'm going to go back to Cabinet tomorrow so we'll have a good discussion about allocations and on Tuesday, in Parliament, I will further address the nation as to what we will do to address this issue,” he noted.

In addition, he said that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is to mobilise other forms of support from the Government such as food and shelter.

Holness toured the significantly affected parishes of St. Andrew and St Thomas on Sunday both by air and land, to get a first-hand look at the damage from the severe weather system, which affected the island on November 16 and 17.

Heavy rains pounded the island over the two days, particularly southern and eastern parishes, with reports of landslides and flooding in several communities.

Jamaica was placed under a Tropical Storm Watch, with a flash flood warning effected for low-lying and flood-prone areas.

Holness reported that about 95 per cent of damaged roads have now been cleared.

He said that over 70 roads were affected and the relevant agencies of Government, including the National Works Agency (NWA), moved swiftly to mobilise equipment and have roads cleared.

Those roads that remained blocked may require “heavier equipment and the deployment of technical resources,” especially based on their remoteness, the Prime Minister pointed out.

In his assessment of the damage in St Thomas, Holness pointed out that there needs to be greater investment in river training to deal with the rivers that have been overflowing their banks for the past 10 to 15 years, destroying agricultural lands, affecting houses and causing persons to be marooned during heavy rains.

As for St Andrew, the Prime Minister described the damage in the East Rural constituency as being “quite extensive” especially in the Guava Ridge area.

He pointed out that Member of Parliament Juliet Holness is “working very hard” to have those areas addressed.

In St Andrew West Rural, Holness said that the damage was mostly from landslides, which is mainly because of the soil type in the area.

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