NWA to spend $543m on disaster-mitigation works
The National Works Agency (NWA) will spend approximately $543 million on disaster-mitigation works this year.
This was disclosed by Manager of Communication and Customer Services at the NWA, Stephen Shaw, during a National Disaster Risk Management Council Meeting, held recently at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
While highlighting the readiness of the agency as it relates to the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season and natural disasters, Shaw said the money will be used to clean drains as well as undertake de-bushing activities.
"We have $100 million that we are getting ready to spend in respect of drains... and in very, very short order, persons will be seeing activities on the roads," he said.
"We have another $100 million that we will be spending in the middle of the season, and at the back end we are going to be spending another $100 million. We have some monies that we are going to be using to do drain cleaning, and we have some debushing works," Shaw added.
He explained that the budgeted $543 million forms part of a comprehensive programme being undertaken by the agency.
"Very often persons hear of... the $543 million, for example, and they will say is that the only money the Government is spending on this in terms of mitigation, and the answer is no, because when you look at the maintenance of secondary road programme, for which we would have spent somewhere in the region of $3 or $4 billion, much of that is being used to improve drainage features in areas," Shaw pointed out.
Shaw said work is progressing on the buildout of the national underground fibre-optic cable backbone. He added that this will assist in building the country's resilience efforts, as well as ensuring that communication is maintained during periods of adverse weather conditions.
"...So in the eastern part of Jamaica, the fibre is being laid underground and those are being put in, in the context of the Southern Coastal Highway Programme... from Harbour View to Port Antonio. Some of it is being done with the expansion of the East-West toll road, and others will follow not so long from now," he said.
Shaw pointed out that the agency continues to improve the island's infrastructure, including gully cleaning, the construction of new drains, and river-training works.