(See video at the end of post)
There is a “ticking bomb” in the forest of St. Vincent, which, unless defused, could lead to more disaster like the one on Christmas Eve, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.
Eight people are dead and five are still missing after torrential rain triggered flooding across St. Vincent, resulting also in major damage to housing and public infrastructure.
Gonsalves told the media at the end of a planning meeting on Saturday that Chief Engineer, Brent Bailey, flew over the country on Friday and has given a “graphic report” about the wide expanse in a number of areas where rivers have spread and lands have been denuded by landslides.
“He suggests the figure of 10 per cent, which is a huge number,” Gonsalves said.
The debris from the 24/12/13 disaster shows many old logs deposited in communities.
“If the logs are not cleared, And if we don’t deal properly with the river defences in the upper areas of the river, … we have a time bomb, a ticking bomb, because when the rains come again heavily, they would just simply wash down what is, so to speak, in the pipeline, in addition to new material which would come,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves’ comments came as he addressed the media on Saturday after a planning meeting.
I-Witness News was the only local media present when Gonsalves gave a briefing at the end of the planning meeting.
The planning meeting included members of the Cabinet; diplomats; senior government officials; Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and chair of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Baldwin Spencer; local and foreign contractors, utility companies, financial institutions, representatives of the governments of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, and representatives of Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
The severe rains and high winds due to a low level trough system has also impacted St. Lucia, and Dominica.