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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller today received an update from the National Disaster Committee, on the impact of Hurricane Sandy and the relief efforts now underway, especially in the hardest hit areas.

Relief airlifts are currently underway to five cut off communities in the mountainous border region between St Andrew and St Thomas. The Jamaica Defence Force is providing airlifts of supplies into Cane River, Hudderstadt, Robertsfield, Hall's Delight and Banga Ridge. A Ministry of Health medical doctor is on each flight to assist in emergency first aid and also to assess potential public health risks.

The worst affected parishes are St Thomas, St Andrew, St Mary and Portland. The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) distribution centres in Manchioneal, Portland, and Annotto Bay, St Mary to provide emergency relief supplies to residents.

Persons whose homes have been damaged but who live outside of the relief distribution areas can call ODPEM at 754-9077 to 8 and 906-9674 to 5 to receive help with temporary roofing.

Based on information received up to now, the industry most seriously affected is agriculture, while education, health and public infrastructure facilities have also been damaged. The Cabinet will receive a more detailed assessment of the damage, and a list of priorities for consideration on Monday.

The Prime Minister says that after Monday’s sitting of Cabinet, the Government will have a clearer idea of “how to cover the areas affected and to prioritize and focus resources on those areas.” Mrs Simpson Miller also urged the committee members to remain strong and continue working in the interest of all Jamaicans.

The National Disaster Committee includes all the national ministries, departments and agencies that impact public health and safety; and also the Ministry of Tourism, and civic organisations such as the Jamaica Red Cross, Food for the Poor and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and St John Ambulance.

 

Contact:    Communications Unit-OPM