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JIS News

The nearly 350 Jamaican hotel workers, who are employed at three properties in Mississippi, United States, are reportedly safe in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and have been relocated to shelters.
Workers were stationed at three hotel properties in Mississippi – two in the city of Biloxi, and one in Gulfport. All three hotels sustained major damage and have since been closed.
Barbara Dacosta, Chief Liaison Officer of the Jamaica Central Labour Organization in Washington, D.C., has advised that contact has been made with all the workers and they were all safe at this time. She said there were no reports of injuries or deaths.
She informed that in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, the workers were housed in temporary shelters, as their homes were flooded. She said that some have since returned to their homes, while others were sharing accommodations.
Ms. Dacosta said that all coordinating agencies have been put on alert and she was expected to meet with the management of the affected properties on Friday, where decisions would be made regarding the current housing situation; relocation of workers to other properties; and also the repatriation of workers.
Meanwhile, there should be no disruptions to the employment of the 30 Jamaicans at properties in Lake Charles, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama, which suffered minor damage. “At this time, we do not anticipate any disruptions,” Ms. Dacosta advised.
Hurricane Katrina, a category five system, hit Florida on Thursday,(Aug. 25) before churning through the Gulf Coast on the weekend, devastating sections of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The hurricane is said to be among the worst natural disasters in the United States, with thousands feared dead in the city of New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the Consulate General office in Miami is trying to make contact with the administration of the Louisiana State University, to ascertain the state of the six Jamaican students attending the institution. The Consulate is also working with the Jamaica Central Labour Organization to ascertain the needs of all Jamaicans affected.
Some 5,000 Jamaicans are employed in the hospitality and agricultural sectors in the United States under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Overseas Employment Programme.