JIS News

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles has said that the island wide assessment of household damage caused by Hurricane Dean has been completed.
The Minister, who was speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday (Oct. 30), said that the assessments, which were completed in mid-October, were conducted by a team of investigators headed by the Ministry and included personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force, the Poor Relief Department and voluntary agencies such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army and the Adventist Relief and Development Agency.
“Every effort was made to ensure the integrity of the process through the use of standardized data gathering instrument and other checks and balances such as meetings of the multi-agency assessments teams at the parish level, to verify the forms submitted and sign off on the summary listings,” Mr. Charles said.
Of the more than 50,000 household assessed, 50 per cent of the homes had minor damage, 41 per cent had major damage, and nine per cent were totally destroyed.
“Further verification of the preliminary list of persons whose homes were damaged is being done to ensure elimination or duplication and other errors. As part of the process, the preliminary listings have been distributed to Members of Parliament for review and feedback by this Friday,” Mr. Charles said.
He said that as soon as the verification process is completed, the distribution of benefits for housing reconstruction will commence.
He informed that the parishes, which suffered the worst damage from the hurricane – St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine – would benefit during the first phase of the reconstruction programme.
The number of beneficiaries in this phase will be approximately 36,000, accounting for 70 per cent of the number of households affected by the hurricane.The type of assistance to be provided will vary according to the levels of damage sustained and will include a mix of cash grants, materials and technical support to undertake repairs.
A meeting is scheduled for today (Oct. 31) at the Liguanea Club, New Kingston, at which representatives of the Ministry, Members of Parliament, ministers fraternal and parish disaster committee chairmen from the worst affected parishes, will discuss the procedures for the distribution of benefits.

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