Major flooding events over the past twenty years, the most recent being the Christmas Trough of 2013, have destabilised the slopes along the river bank resulting in extensive silt runoff into the river with each rainfall event.
Chairman of the People Empowering People (PEP) community organisation, Mr. Abraham George, noted the timeliness of the project as the community prepares for an unpredictable hurricane season and thanked the OECS Commission and CCRIF SPC for the much-needed support.
“When it floods it undermines the bridge, the infrastructure that connects the north to the south, which is quite important. The community is virtually marooned because there is one way in and one way out.”
“When the flood water comes in, community members have to run for shelter in the higher area and they cannot get out of Malgretoute,” Mr. George said.
He also stressed the importance of the community’s involvement in the project as this encourages a sense of ownership and a better understanding of disaster prevention and best farming practices.
“It is all about empowerment and getting down to the grassroots, the core of the problem. From the bottom, you have the persons who are affected, they are integrally involved, they own the programmes and they see the importance.”
“What we are trying to address now are some of the spinoffs from the banana industry where you had indiscriminate planting of bananas and the felling of trees. We are now trying to replant and do all that we can, because it is our community that is at risk when the flood waters come down,” Mr. George added.
The main goal of the Malgretoute riverbank stabilisation and reforestation initiative is to replant at least half of the deforested areas along the Malgretoute/Fond water shed and implement measures to stabilise the river banks.
Work in the area is expected to continue for approximately eighteen (18) months and the project will engage members of the Malgretoute community both in the performance of project activities and in the transfer of knowledge, especially to farmers, to better maintain the watershed and riverbank.
The project is estimated at thirty-four thousand, one hundred dollars (USD $34,100).
|This story aligns with OECS Strategic Objective No.4: Assure the Security and Well-being of Citizens.|
Mr. Abraham George - Chairperson of the People Empowering People (PEP) Community Organisation
Programme Officer, OECS Social & Sustainable Development Division