Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Relief soon for flood-prone New Haven
BY ARLENE MARTIN Observer staff reporter
Monday, June 17, 2002

EXTENSIVE work to alleviate flooding in the New Haven community of St Andrew could begin later this year as the government's National Works Agency (NWA) is now inviting tenders for the dredging of the Duhaney River, which causes widespread flooding in the area whenever there is heavy rain.

The scope of the work, according to a newspaper advertisement yesterday, involve dredging of approximately 1,500 feet of the Duhaney River downstream from Six Miles; cleaning of three sets of Armco pipe culverts under the Mandela Highway, and the cleaning of the main drain along Washington Boulevard between Cooreville Gardens and Six Miles.

Additionally, the box culvert near the train line on Marcus Garvey Drive is also to be cleaned.

"The cleaning of the Duhaney River will definitely help to alleviate the flooding in New Haven," Transport and Works Minister Robert Pickersgill told the Observer yesterday. "As for the works on Marcus Garvey Drive, many communities (that the gully runs alongside) will benefit from this."

However, he could not give a date as to when the works would begin, but said great urgency was being placed on the project, considering the fact that the 2002 hurricane season has begun.

"The tenders have to go through a process to select the best one, therefore, to give a set date at this time is impossible," said Pickersgill.

The Duhaney River runs from the Caymanas Estate behind the Cremo factory, passing behind the Riverton Dump and into the sea.

It, as well as the garbage-choked gully that runs behind the New Haven community cause misery for dozens of families living in New Haven whenever there is heavy rain -- the latest being two weeks ago when heavy rains associated with an area of disturbed weather lashed most of the island.

Yesterday, Pickersgill said while the authorities are responsible for the cleaning of the gullies, the residents also have a role to play in ensuring that the gullies remain clean.

"They have a responsibility too," he said. "While we are not denying that it is our responsibility to get the gullies clean, the amount of garbage dumped in the gullies and the river just shows how irresponsible these people are when it comes to disposing of their garbage."

In December last year, the authorities were forced to begin clearing garbage from the Duhaney River as many families were displaced and valuables lost when their homes were flooded by the raging waters of the river after a heavy downpour on Boxing Day. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management was forced then to open shelters for some residents.

Prior to that, New Haven was among the communities affected by flooding in November, after rains associated with a weather system that eventually developed into Hurricane Michelle pummelled the island for several days.