JIS News

Several persons, whose houses were destroyed during the onslaught of Hurricane Dean, should start receiving assistance from the Government by as early as next week, under the Housing Reconstruction Programme.
Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, who made this disclosure at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing on (Nov. 6) at Jamaica House, said the programme, which is expected to cost the government some $1 billion during the fiscal year, will involve the relocation of persons, who are located in flood-prone areas, and the reconstruction of houses.
He informed that residents of Rocky Point and Portland Cottage in Clarendon; Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine; and Duhaney Pen in St. Thomas whose houses were severely affected during the onslaught of both Hurricanes Ivan and Dean, will be relocated.
“We have already identified lands in all the areas for relocation, and the National Housing Development Corporation is in the field carrying out design and planning to provide the necessary infrastructure and begin the process of relocation in all the four districts identified,” he said.
He said that for the occupants of houses that were severely affected or totally destroyed, the Ministry will, depending on the cost, provide complete housing units to these persons.
In cases where the Ministry will not be providing complete housing units, the affected persons will receive cash benefits of $60,000, as well as assistance with their construction efforts.
“In order to ensure that the money is used for construction, it would be given in both kind and cash.
We intend to provide a cash grant of $20,000 and $40,000 in material. We are going this route not only because of the insurance that once you give material it is more likely to be used for construction, but if when we purchase the material we get it at a much lower cost; we maybe save up to 30 per cent,” Dr. Chang explained.
In addition, persons whose houses were partially damaged will receive grants of $20,000: $12,000 in material and $8,000 in cash.
Minister Chang told journalists that the Jamaica Defence Force will be mobilized to assist with the distribution of material in the most critical areas, particularly in the parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon.
He also informed that the government is in the process of evaluating some pre-made homes, which are done in the United States and Canada to provide shelter for the affected persons in the fastest time possible.
“The advantage is cost. The Canadians have offered something that looks pretty good in terms of withstanding hurricanes and earthquakes.depending on the cost, we might use them,” Dr. Chang informed.
In the meantime, the government has distributed a list of all the persons whose houses were affected by Hurricane Dean to all members of parliament in the affected areas.