Wed | Aug 12, 2020

$308m for drought relief

Published:Wednesday | July 15, 2020 | 12:28 AM

The Government is to pump $308 million into helping to mitigate the scorching effects of drought affecting Jamaica.

Minister without Portfolio Daryl Vaz told Parliament that most parishes were experiencing below-average rainfall, particularly in the northeastern arc of the island.

He said that June was significantly dryer than the average 30-year rainfall out-turn for that month.

Projections are that dry conditions will continue for northeastern parishes through to September.

“Springs that usually provide a source of water are now dry. Both the National Water Commission sources and the municipal corporation sources that are used for major and minor water supplies are dry or producing very minimal water.

“So whereas we have in the past been able to blame the municipal [corporation] or the National Water Commission or Rural Water based on what is perceived as inefficiency or neglect, this is the reality of climate change in relation to drought,” Vaz said.

“So the only thing that can assist us is a collective prayer and divine intervention when it comes to the weather,” he added.

Vaz said that $70 million will be provided to Rural Water Supply Limited and $63 million is to be divided equally among members of parliament for the provision of tanks and the trucking of water.

In further disclosing the figures, the minister said that the NWC will be allocated $100 million for the trucking of water islandwide.

And the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will be allocated another $75 million to be spent on water shops and the additional trucking of water.

That ministry had been given a previous allocation of $50 million within the last three months.