Weekend Rains Cause Half-a-Billion in Damage


The heavy rains that battered the country over the weekend have resulted in almost $500-million in damage.

The figure was revealed Tuesday afternoon by Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, who provided an update in the House of Representatives.

Minister McKenzie says the flooding has highlighted the need for a comprehensive review and overhaul of the country’s drainage system.

Minister Mckenzie says based on preliminary assessments, damage to the road network across 10 parishes is over $350-million.

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Then, there was damage to property and other infrastructure which was assessed at approximately $139-million across three parishes.

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Minister Mckenzie says it’s evident the country’s drainage system has not evolved to match the development of communities.

He says the National Works Agency has reported that the system was ‘simply overwhelmed’ by the heavy rains.

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Mr. McKenzie says the Local Government Ministry will also be collaborating with the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread waterborne diseases following the recent flooding.

He told the parliament that the Municipal Corporations will be provided with adequate funding to help with rebuilding once a full assessment of the flooding is done.

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Meanwhile, Opposition Spokesman on Local Government, Noel Arscott, expressed his regret for those who suffered from the recent flood rains.

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Mr. Arscott says the government must take climate change more seriously due to worsening weather patterns.

He says the government must quickly pass the Building Act which he says would address some of the issues that have emerged.

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And, the Member of Parliament for Western St. Thomas, James Robertson, says approximately 30,000 people from his constituency are still badly affected by the torrential rains the parish experienced on the weekend.

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Mr. Robertson says about 80-percent of his constituency was affected by the rains. He says some of those affected are cut off from other communities and districts because footpaths and land have been removed by water.

He says some residents are distraught because of their inability to access electricity, water and Internet.

Mr. Robertson says the extent of the damage is still being assessed as reports are still coming in from places which are just receiving phone signals.