JIS News

The government is carrying out assessments to determine relocation options for persons in flood prone areas such as Portland Cottage in Clarendon, Old Harbour Bay in St. Catherine and Brighton in Western Westmoreland. Prime Minister P. J. Patterson made the announcement at Monday’s (Sept. 27) post Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.
Meanwhile, he informed that the Ministries of Local Government, Community Development and Sport; Land and Environment; and Transport and Works would be responsible for meeting with parish councils, the superintendent of roads and works in the various parishes, people in the construction industry and architects and engineers, to discuss a programme of monitoring and advising the public on building codes and standards.
Additionally he said that the Heart Trust/NTA had undertaken to engage in a course of training for artisans and persons interested in construction, which he said would “increase the knowledge base and make more people available (to) assist in the enforcement process.”
The Prime Minister noted that the loss in housing stock could not be determined until a proper estimate of the damage associated with the hurricane had been conducted. “Preliminary figures do not represent the magnitude of the loss as householders of all income levels were severely affected,” he stated.
He said that estimates showed that some 100,000 household units were affected of which 5,000 were totally demolished, with the remaining 95,000 units suffering moderate or slight damage, or loss of personal effects.
The Prime Minister announced that vouchers of differing values would be issued for persons to undertake repairs to their property. The value of the vouchers would be dependent on the level of damage suffered.
In the meantime, he disclosed that Cabinet had approved $46.5 million to enable Food for the Poor to construct an additional 250 housing units for persons most in need.
Turning to the relief efforts in the agriculture sector, Prime Minister Patterson said coupons were being printed and would be in the hands of the various parish authorities by the end of this week to be issued early next week.
He said further consideration would be given to the sector beyond the provision of coupons given the loss of traditional food supplies from the domestic market and the loss of income to affected families.

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