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Construction is underway on the first set of houses, which are being built in collaboration with Food for the Poor, for persons whose homes were destroyed by the passage of Hurricane Sandy.

Speaking on November 14 Jamaica House press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, State Minister with responsibility for Housing in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy informed that Food for the Poor is now mobilised in St. Mary and Portland.

“We will be starting to do construction by today, so that the plight that residents are undergoing will be alleviated in as short a time as possible,” he remarked.

Dr. Guy noted that the Ministry had been able to expedite the process to make land available for construction.  He said lots are available where previous hurricane victims were relocated, and that persons, who own land are now making documents available.

The State Minister explained that in order to build, Food for the Poor will accept a lease from owners to tenants; copy of a legal title; copies of certificates of taxes; or approval of owners for family members to get access to land.

“You will appreciate that, as a consequence of the flooding, some of these documents would not be readily available so the process is going to take a bit of time. But we want, as a government to go in as soon as possible with the response,” he stated.

He said the government would also address the needs of persons, who do not have any form of legal access to land by making crown lands available. One example is the 10 lots that are being made available on crown lands in Manchioneal, Portland.

He noted that to aid in the process, the Ministry of Labour and Red Cross personnel are now assisting persons to get the relevant documentation in order to enable building on the relevant lands.

Minister of Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, who hosted the briefing, noted that the number of verified damaged homes is now 6,264, and of these, 489 were destroyed, 2,530 severely damaged and 3,245 suffered minor damage.