The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has deployed 500 Assessment Officers islandwide to ascertain the level of loss and damage suffered by persons as a result of Hurricane Ivan.
Already, a house-to-house assessment is underway, and the level of assistance victims will receive depends to a great extent, on the level of damage suffered. “Whatever the case, once there is justification for assistance to be given, it will be given,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alvin McIntosh, told JIS News in a recent interview.
He informed that the assessment process was expected to last for two weeks and the data collected would be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, which will be responsible for preparing vouchers for the victims.
The vouchers will then be distributed by the MLSS at selected venues in each parish. The vouchers will allow persons to purchase materials from hardware merchants, or other approved items. Persons who lost family members during the hurricane will also be assisted with funeral expenses.
Persons who have suffered loss are requested to make a report as quickly as possible, to the Ministry’s office in their respective parishes. They may visit the office in person, send representatives to act on their behalf or make contact by telephone.
List of Ministry
Offices and Contact Numbers
Kingston & St. Andrew
72 Harbour Street
Shop 4a- 6a Morant Bay Plaza
3 Smatt Road
2 Main Street
4 Windsor Road
4 King Street
4 Sam Sharpe Square
Court House Compound
Lot 24 Mandeville Plaza
6b Manchester Avenue
6b Nugent Street
Mr. McIntosh warned unscrupulous persons, who may seek to manipulate the assistance process, to desist from doing so, as the assessment officers would be investigating every report made to verify authenticity.
Apart from personnel from the Labour Ministry, the assessment team comprises representatives from the Ministries of Health, Water and Housing, Agriculture and Local Government, Community Development and Sports and the Jamaica Defence Force. Non-governmental organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), the Jamaica Council of Churches, and the Jamaica Red Cross are also involved.
Mr. McIntosh noted that the multi-agency approach had been adopted in order to deal with the assessment and relief efforts as quickly as possible.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary said there had been a reduction in the number of persons in shelters.
He attributed the reduction in the number of shelter seekers to the work of the Ministry in conjunction with other relief agencies to provide bedding, tarpaulins, food and other items to affected persons, so that they could return home.