JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) has so far spent over $20 million on relief activities across the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.Minister Horace Dalley, who made the announcement in his presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday (Sept. 28), said the assistance to hurricane victims had helped to reduce the population in shelters from 25,000 to 450 persons.
Meanwhile, he informed that the approximately 700 assessors deployed island wide had completed evaluations of just over 43,000 houses as at September 26. The figure represents 70 per cent of the families that were affected by the hurricane.
Mr. Dalley emphasized that the damage assessment process was in full gear and that he expected the evaluations to be “substantially completed” by this week-end. The damage assessment team, he informed, had been instructed to inspect all houses that were affected, whether or not repairs had begun.
The team includes MLSS social workers; poor relief officers; field officers from the Ministry of Water and Housing, the Social Development Commission (SDC), the National Land Agency and the Jamaica Defence Force; and representatives from voluntary agencies. Detailed plans have been developed for the processing and delivery of benefits to affected families and to date, 14,000 assessment forms have been processed, the Minister told the House.
He said benefits were proposed at three levels consistent with the degree of damage sustained with varying amounts to be granted for: houses that have been completely destroyed and the owners were unable to rebuild at the existing location; major damage to roof or wall; and minor damage to the house, tools of trade or household effects. Payments are expected to commence early next month.
The Labour Minister further informed, that for persons whose houses had been completely destroyed and were slated for relocation, complete housing units were to be provided with an initial sum of $46 million being made available to Food for the Poor to construct 250 units.
Mr. Dalley used the opportunity to commend the work of the non-governmental response agencies that have been working closely with the government machinery. “The country has seen a remarkable display of community spirit and demonstration of considerable generosity,” he stated.

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