Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government will be assisting individuals who have been severely impacted by the heavy rains last week.
“The general complaints I have received, however, is for assistance with building grants and whenever we have these heavy rains, given the housing infrastructure that we have, much of which is significantly deteriorated. People have reported heavy leaks and damage to their roofing, so we are considering how we can assist in this regard but people should bear in mind that the Government could not give everyone who has a leaking roof a grant but certainly we will be sending out through the various entities that have responsibility to get an assessment as to people who are in dire need and how we can assist,” Holness said.
He was speaking during a tour of affected parishes such as St Andrew and St Thomas yesterday, November 19.
The prime minister noted that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will also coordinate and mobilise the necessary resources such as food and shelter.
Holness further noted that 95 per cent of the 70 roads affected by the heavy rains have been cleared.
“What we would want to point out to the country is that the NWA and the other agencies of government have responded very quickly and as you can see behind me here, tractors are mobilised already, I gather there would be 70-odd roads that were blocked but I would say about 95 per cent of those roads have been cleared, so equipment is mobilised right across the affected areas and work is being done. There are some areas that have been affected that require a bit more than what we are doing here, heavier equipment and the deployment of technical resources and building major structures,” he said.
During his tour of St Thomas, the prime minister highlighted the need for greater investment in river training to prevent them from overflowing their banks to threaten agricultural produce and housing infrastructure.
“St Thomas, though it has significant hilly features, it also has a significant plain cutting across both constituencies with many rivers and the main challenge would be the rivers are not controlled, so there needs to be greater investment in river training. The rivers are overflowing the banks as you would know them for 10 or 15 years and they are changing their course and destroying agricultural land and threatening houses,” he said.
Holness noted that damage in West Rural St Andrew are mostly from landslides.