Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has said that island-wide assessments are now underway to determine the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Dean.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (left), in discussion with Minister of Local Government and Environment, Dean Peart (right), and Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie during a tour of Caribbean Terrace in East Kingston that has been devastated by Hurricane Dean. The tour was done today (August 20).
Mrs. Simpson Miller, who was addressing a press briefing this morning (Aug. 20) at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston, informed that representatives from a number of state agencies are out in the field, and come tomorrow (Aug. 21), 350 additional persons will be dispatched across the island.
Once this is done, she said, the country will be in a better position to determine what kind of relief is required.
In the meantime, she said that a number of foreign governments have signaled their intention to assist in the recovery effort. “I did indicate that the United States government and the United States Agency for International Development have started to give assistance from the preparation stage and they will continue. A large navy vessel will be coming into Jamaica as soon as possible,” the Prime Minister said.
CARICOM is also standing by to provide assistance, with Trinidad and Tobago pledging to send financial aid by tomorrow. Relief supplies are also expected from the governments of Spain, Brazil, Venezuela and Canadian.
In addition to the usual food items, Mrs. Simpson Miller said she will be requesting that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade get in touch with ambassadors overseas to help with sourcing roofing material and housing assistance.
“I know most people will be sending food and water, medicine,” she said, noting that residents of Portland Cottage in Clarendon and Caribbean Terrace in Kingston, whose homes were damaged as a result of the category four hurricane, will benefit from the donation of housing material.