US Embassy Directs $465 Million to Hurricane Relief Effort


Jamaica’s relief and recovery efforts have received an additional boost with the donation of $465 million in post hurricane assistance by the United States Embassy.
United States Ambassador, Sue Cobb, who made the announcement at a meeting at the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) on Oxford Road yesterday (Sept. 30) said the money would be made available with immediate effect.
“The Government of Jamaica is taking all the steps that it can to help people recover from the disaster. It is really on the right track and the United States is very pleased to work with you [ONR] to help Jamaica recover from Hurricane Ivan,” the Ambassador stated.
The funds will be allocated to three principal areas over the next six months. These are agriculture and small business; repairing and rebuilding schools and health facilities; and water sanitation and rural infrastructure. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will manage the disbursement of the funds, through the assistance of the ONR, which will identify the main project areas. With most of the assessment process completed, Ambassador Cobb said that the USAID would be able to “quickly disburse significant funds through the contractors that they work with already, to create jobs and, to add value to the principal areas mentioned”.
According to USAID Director, Karen Turner, the assistance was in co-ordination and consultation with governmental partners as well as other donors. She said that the aim of USAID was to help revitalize hard hit areas of the economy, in order to get persons back to work as soon as possible.
“A lot of the work that will be done on rural infrastructure is designed to be labour generating activities and projects. We are also focusing on hard hit areas in the southern and western regions,” Ms. Turner pointed out.
She noted that the very condensed six-month period within which the assistance would be disbursed was an “important time to get economic activity back underway”.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the ONR, Danville Walker, thanked the US Ambassador for her country’s involvement in the post-Hurricane Ivan recovery efforts. “Leadership by example is one of the most powerful messages.this is a fine example you have set as an organization and country, that is a friend of Jamaica. Friends come to you in your hour of need and this is our hour of need,” Mr. Walker stated.
Indeed, he said, the United States has been a friend, stepping in with assistance in the first few days following Hurricane Ivan by allocating $43 million in cash and materials, which was handed over to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and other Jamaican relief organizations.

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