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Mohammed: Floods could have been worse

By SASHA HARRINANAN Monday, September 16 2013

MAJOR flooding along the East/West Corridor last week, could have been even worse, especially in communities of Mt Lambert, Aranjuez and El Socorro, had workmen from the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation (SJLRC) not conducted targeted drainage clean up, corporation chairman Nafeesa Mohammed said.

“There are four main drains in Mt Lambert, running north to south, which take much of the run-off from the Northern Range. If we hadn’t cleaned those drains and removed debris and junk which people dumped in it, Mt Lambert, Aranjuez and parts of El Socorro would have been in a much worse situation,” Mohammed told Newsday.

Last Wednesday, the East/West corridor experienced major flooding following persistent showers. This was followed by even more devastating damage in Diego Martin following massive flooding caused by thundershowers last Friday.

Mohammed lamented that while cleaning the drain in Nizam Avenue, El Socorro Extension, on the southern side of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway (CRH), corporation workers found so many plastic bottles that, “we needed 300 garbage bags to remove all of it.”

“Imagine if that had been left in the drain when the showers came. The floods could have been so much worse,” she said.

Mohammed said the flash floods could have been further minimised if the Food Production Ministry’s Engineering Unit did as the corporation requested and diverted a watercourse in “The Garden Lands” along the Mt Lambert/Aranjuez border.

“That watercourse needs to be diverted and widened at a certain point to ensure large volumes of water end up in the San Juan River, instead of overflowing onto farmland and in people’s homes in the area,” Mohammed said.

She said there are approximately 12 “archaic” cylinders running beneath the highway. “They need to be replaced and regularly de-silted to allow water to pass easily and speedily.”

Mohammed explained that de-silting these drains falls under the purview of the Drainage Division of the Ministry of Works and Infrastruture, but because the drains lie under the highway, the Highways Division of the Ministry of Works is also involved. “Prior to last year’s Cabinet reshuffle, both divisions were under the Ministry of Works and Transport, so they were able to communicate and cooperate on projects quite well. Unfortunately, they now operate in silos and it takes much longer to get them to act on our requests for assistance in reducing the risks of flooding,” Mohammed said.

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