ALTHOUGH work to prepare the country for the upcoming rainy season was paused by covid19, Minister of Works and Transport, Rohan Sinanan, says the ministry is still on track, and the final phase in the preparations will begin in early June.
Speaking with Sinanan on Monday during a Zoom meeting, Newsday was told most areas are already in phase three, and the preparations to limit the amount of flooding in the country during the rainy season will be done before the season reaches its peak.
“We are very confident that we would be able to complete the project,” Sinanan said. “After we lost the two weeks because of covid19, we brought in additional contractors.”
Sinanan explained the project to deal with flooding began in January and was broken up into four phases. The first phase dealt with the most critical parts of the waterways – those most prone to flooding. Other phases dealt with areas with lower chances of flooding up to the fourth phase where de-silting and extension of river walls to the areas at lowest risk to breaking its banks and causing flooding.
Sinanan said although he is confident the ministry will finish in time, this year’s rainy season will be different from others because it was estimated that heavy rainfall may start earlier than usual.
He added that while the main cause of flooding is water overflowing banks and settling in low-lying areas where people may have settled, practices of narrowing river banks, deforestation which causes an excess of silt in the river banks and dumping does not help the effort in limiting flooding.
“This is a significant challenge. It is something we have to work on,” Sinanan said. “We know flooding has to do with the volume of rainfall, but some of the things we practice are not helping. Last year, while de-silting, we pulled an entire car out of a river. Not parts of a car, a whole car.” “Everyone has to do their part if we are to limit flooding,” he said. “We are in this thing together.”