JIS News

There has been a constant outpouring of goodwill and support from Jamaicans towards the Haitian refugees who have fled their country in the last two weeks.
Several companies, community groups and organizations and private individuals have been donating food, clothing and other personal items to the emergency centres where the refugees are housed under the care and protection of the Portland Disaster Committee.
Currently there are 103 refugees being accommodated in the parish, of which 52 are being kept at the Winifred Rest Home in Fairy Hill; 10 at the Portland Rehabilitation Centre in Port Antonio and 41 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Port Antonio.
Organizations providing support include the Jamaica Broilers Group, Jamaica Biscuit Company, the Salvation Army, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and local community entities such as Uptown Mini Mart, Cost U Less Supermarket, Portland Infirmary employees and Satcum Cable Television Company.
Portland’s Disaster Coordinator, Faye Neufville, told JIS News that she was highly appreciative of the various types of assistance being offered by the Jamaican people.
Noting that the accommodation of the Haitians had put severe pressure on the resources of the Portland Disaster Committee, Mrs. Neufville said the assistance being provided had been of significant help to the committee as it sought to carry out its obligations and responsibilities under the present circumstances.
While thanking the public for its assistance, she said there was still a need for toiletries at the rehabilitation centres and a deep freeze to be used for preserving meats and other items in need of refrigeration.
Mrs. Neufville has informed persons and organizations interested in making contributions to contact the Portland Disaster Committee at the Portland Parish Council Office in Port Antonio, or its affiliate organizations in Port Antonio.
Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Paul Saunders, told JIS News that plans were in place to refurbish a facility in Montpelier, St. James, beginning this weekend, to house the Haitians that were presently in the Island and those that might be forthcoming. He explained that the work should be completed within the next three weeks.
He informed that the Ministry of Land and Environment had received support from members of the private sector who would be overseeing the rehabilitation of the buildings.
Mr. Saunders said the facility was the same location where the Haitians were housed in 1991, but had fallen into a state of disrepair and as such would be re-roofed, fitted out and made into a proper area of residence. There are already 10 existing buildings, which will be used for sleeping, kitchen and dining purposes. Each building can accommodate up to 30 persons.