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Ratho Mill land continues to slide

Ratho Mill land continues to slide

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Since heavy rains began here almost one month ago, there has been at least one landslide a day and the collapse of several retaining walls throughout the country.{{more}}

Speaking to Searchlight on Wednesday, Director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) Howie Prince said that since September 17th, his organization has had to deal with the collapse of approximately 50 retaining walls and the blockage of roads by landslides and fallen trees.

One such landslide occurred last weekend at about 1:00 a.m on Sunday, October 12th, when a large quantity of mud and boulders came down from the Jack property at Ratho Mill, where only three weeks ago, on September 19th, a retaining wall collapsed, claiming the life of 67-year-old Patricia Jack-Bowman.

Luckily, Sunday’s landslide did not result in injury or death, but the debris covered three-quarters of the width of the highway for a distance of about 15 metres, causing the authorities to close a portion of the Windward Highway for several hours.

Douglas Wilson, General Manager of C.O. Williams Construction Company Ltd., who said he arrived at the scene of the landslide at Ratho Mill, along with Prince at about 2 a.m. on Sunday, was quick to reassure that none of the remaining portion of the Jack retaining wall had come down in Sunday’s earth movement.

He said that after an assessment of the situation, he and his crew were back on site by 7:30 a.m. Sunday when the cleanup, which took about three hours, began.

Prince told Searchlight that since the deadly incident on September 19th, engineers from the Public Works department have been monitoring the remaining portion of the Jack wall on a daily basis using Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment, which measures any movement of the landscape around the wall. He said that the equipment is able to pick up even minute movements, and so far, none has been detected.

The NEMO Director assured Searchlight that his organization has also been carrying out surveillance of other walls around the country, and has, in the last month, demolished three walls, which in their judgement, had been “precariously poised”.