December 23, 2016
SVG has taken severe physical, economic battering

Since 2010, not only has the country taken a physical battering from severe weather systems, but so too has its economic welfare.

So said Minister of Housing Montgomery Daniel, during a sitting of the House of Assembly on December 15. Daniel explained that during the passage of Hurricane Tomas in 2010, one thousand, two hundred homes (1,200) were devastated, of which 498 were in North Windward and 375 in North Leeward.{{more}}

He added that in 2011, as a result of flooded banks at the Basin Hole, Georgetown river, several houses were impacted, which necessitated the rebuilding of homes and relocation of eight families.

According to Daniel, by April 2014, the programme to rehabilitate and rebuild houses had cost approximately $20 million, with some 196 homes having been built throughout the island.

The Minister pointed out that with the passage of Tropical Storm Matthew and several trough systems over the past two months, the housing infrastructure has again been negatively impacted.

“In the last trough system again, several houses …[were] affected all throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines. In the constituency of North Windward, some 83 homes were damaged and some nine houses were completely destroyed. 72 houses … had damage at level one to level three. A total of some 117 persons had to seek shelter at the Sandy Bay Primary School. In the North Leeward areas, some 22 houses were affected, where one house was completely destroyed, 21 houses have varying damages of level one to level three,” he explained.

The Minister stated that while the damage seems the greatest on the north eastern and north western sides of the island, one house at Murray’s Village, on the outskirts of Kingstown, has been severely compromised.

“…The damage has been widespread. In the Marriaqua Valley, there are many homes that were also threatened along the various river banks that exist in that area. And, so Mr Speaker, there is never a dull moment in the Ministry of Housing,” he said.

Daniel explained that work is currently being done in the constituency of North Windward where three houses are being built for three families.

He noted that this work will intensify in the new year.

The Minister noted that lands were recently earmarked for a housing project in the Orange Hill community and some of these lots of lands will be made available for persons who were affected by the weather systems.

Daniel added that the chief engineer and a team from the Physical Planning Unit will visit the site to ensure that proper drainage systems exist.

“This is indeed a critical element of our work in terms of going forward, particularly where new housing settlements will be established. It is important that that is done Mr Speaker, because of what we are seeing happening in all of the various housing settlements in this country.”

During last week’s sitting of the House, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the loss and damage caused by the several weather system over the past two months could exceed XCD $100 million.(CM)