JIS News

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) will now place focus on priority needs as identified by Cabinet, as it wraps up its initial response to marooned communities in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

"All of our major humanitarian/welfare relief support in the first phase will be wrapped up today based on the information we have received that the access ways are pretty much restored to the communities we were serving that would have been cut off,” said the agency’s Director General, Ronald Jackson at Wednesday Jamaica House Press Briefing.

"We are turning our attention to looking at the priorities that have been identified coming out of the presentations to Cabinet…and we are working now with our partner agencies and our Ministries and some of our international donor partners to look at how we treat with those priorities as at today,” he said.

He noted, however, that the agency will still “deal with individuals, who may have been missed along the way”, but this will be done on “a case-by-case basis”.

He informed that additional resources were today deployed to sections of Portland, along with an officer from the agency “to give support to the local authority as they deal with the communities there that still require assistance."

The Director General said the agency will also be providing temporary roof cover for approximately 3,500 homes that were affected during the passage of the storm.

“…When we talk about temporary roofing, we are dealing strictly with tarpaulins and that is just for the immediacy. Certainly, we are going to be looking at how we support those persons, who would have been totally destroyed,” he said, adding that a precise figure of the cost has not yet been tabulated.

Hurricane Sandy affected the island on October 24. Preliminary estimates put the damage to the country at over $5 billion, with agriculture being the worst affected sector.