McKenzie to update House today on weekend flooding

Tuesday, April 25, 2017    

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MINISTER of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie will make a statement in the House of Representatives today on the weekend flooding.

The parishes of Clarendon and St Thomas were hardest hit by heavy rainfall from Friday and Sunday. The rains caused flooding and landslides, and forced residents to evacuate their homes. The flooding damaged bridges and and roads in both parishes.

McKenzie said yesterday that he will update the House with available facts on the impact of the weather system, and measures planned to address them.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Jamaica’s disaster relief agency, falls under the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

In the meanwhile, the minister said yesterday that a clearer picture of the circumstances, which led to the explosion at the RIU Hotel in Montego Bay last Thursday, will be known by the end of this week.

“The preliminary report of the Jamaica Fire Brigade, which is leading the investigation into the incident, has cleared the hotel to resume operations from a fire safety perspective. However, we are not aware that the hotel has reopened for business,” McKenzie said yesterday.

He said that the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing the investigations and will present a final report shortly.

McKenzie said the brigade will be assisted by a technical team from his ministry, as well as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the St James Municipal Corporation, the National Water Commission, National Works Agency (NWA), the ODPEM, and the National Environment and Planning Agency, which will, as of today, undertake a full review of the hotel’s operations. The team will be led by chief executive officer of the NWA, E G Hunter.

“I expect to receive a preliminary report of the findings by this Friday,” McKenzie said yesterday.

One hotel worker was killed and four others injured when tragedy struck at the hotel in Ironshore, St James, on Thursday.

The five injured employees, members of the hotel’s maintenance team, were working in a boiler room when an explosion was heard. They were taken to hospital where one was pronounced dead and the others admitted, two of whom were said to be in critical condition.





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