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Sinckler calls for quick, early response


MIKE KING

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NEW Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Christopher Sinckler says the time has come for Government by way of agencies such as Public Works, Home Affairs, Urban and Rural Development, to come up with strategies to combat flood damage.
Up just after 5 a.m. yesterday to respond to major flooding in his St Michael North West constituency, Sinckler called for a think tank to formulate a plan of action.
“We all have to be concerned with the level of flooding experience and the danger it poses. Clearly, the ministries of Home Affairs, Public Works, Drainage, Urban and Rural Development, Finance, are going to have to sit down and look at this issue very clearly.
“It is not going to be inexpensive but it is something that we have to seriously look at in terms of how we handle this. We have short-term emergencies and this is a short-term emergency situation,” he said while on tour of flood-prone Brandons.
Sinckler said the Drainage Unit had done well.
“Certainly, we don’t want to see this situation replicated. I think, we have made some progress in the last two years in terms of dealing with these issues, the Drainage Unit has done a reasonably good job.
“If you look at the amount of rain that we have had in the last two weeks, not even the best drainage system is going to be able to contain what we have had to deal with. Last night (Sunday) was absolutely amazing. The rain fell for more than two hours non-stop.
“With the best of wills and the most sophisticated of drainage systems, with that type of rain, you are not going to stop flooding.
“What we have to do is to have quick and early response . . . we have to review what has happened, how the systems have held up or not held up as the case may be and make adjustments,” he said.
Sinckler had to make plans to resite Loretta Alfay and her children from her home at 2nd Avenue, Holder’s Land, Brandons. There was a sea of water covering the pavement and front step of the one-bedroom house she has called home for more than 20 years.
Sinckler said she would stay at a nearby location and Urban Development Commission (UDC) would provide a more permanent arrangement.
He also said he had hired the firm, R.G. Plumbing, to pump water that spilled into the yard of several residents of Brandons. Managing director Rickala Green said more than 20 000 gallons of water had been pumped from Brandons.
A Brandons resident, Rodney Newton, used a submersible pump hooked to a hose and two lengths of pipe to drain water from his two-bedroom wood and wall house.
Newton rescued five of his Akita pups – one drowned – in an extensive cleaning operation he undertook from the wee hours of yesterday morning.

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