The Public Works Department (PWD) in the Ministry of Communication, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) has issued the following report based on their assessment of the rainy conditions associated with a tropical wave on Wednesday October 13, 2021.

On Wednesday October 13th, 2021, areas around Montserrat were impacted by an above normal weather event that discharged at least 4.66 inches of heavy rainfall over the 24hour period. Some low lying areas were inundated, as the volume of water discharged was above capacity of the drainage network. There was flooding in the Carr’s Bay area, along the Robert W. Griffith Drive in Little Bay and the section of road adjacent to Omar’s Jerk Fest & Restaurant (formally Sup’s Bar and Restaurant) in Brades. Other areas were also impacted to a lesser extent with minor landslides, rock-falls and surface wash-outs. It is a stark reminder of our fragile infrastructure and its susceptibility to climate change. Hence, we must continue to build with resilience in mind—adhering to the building codes.

Over the years, there have been some remarkable outcomes from the lessons learned, having assessed the impact of storms on our infrastructure. The re-construction of the Carr’s Bay Bridge, the Barzey’s Bridge, the Collin’s Ghaut Bridge, the Cassava Ghaut Bridge, the Runway Ghaut’s Bridge and the Nante’s River Bridge are clear examples. It is the Ministry’s intention to continue working to improve the drainage network and infrastructure gradually. Some priority areas would be Emma’s Ghaut and St. Peter’s one-way culverts.

The October 13th, 2021 event again highlights the vulnerability of the low-lying areas. The Carr’s Bay area is no exception. According to the Physical Development Plan of Montserrat, the area is designated as a flood zone and can be easily impacted by the rise in sea level as well. A flood simulation modeling exercise was carried out by Halcrow in 2012 and by all indications, the Carr’s Bay area is prone to flooding especially with above average rainfall. This is further exacerbated with some areas being below sea-level. As recent as 2008, flood waters overflowed the old Carr’s Bridge during a storm. This gives a clear indication of the effects of climate change and hence the new bridge established in 2019 was constructed with an increased capacity and height.

We do appreciate the various recommendations received on improving our drainage infrastructure.  We will take into consideration the suggestions offered bearing in mind the recommenders’ knowledge of the history of the area.

The Public Works Department (PWD) is currently conducting clean-up works around the island and will carry out continuous assessments with the aim of making improvements. We will work towards increasing the drainage capacity in Brades and will continue to work with the operators and land owners in the Carr’s Bay area on ways to mitigate the impact of future flooding.”

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