JIS News

As assistance continues to pour in for the Haitian refugees in Jamaica, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has pledged US$50,000 to help with the local aid programme.
Earlier this week, Minister of Information, Burchell Whiteman told journalists at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing that the government had spent more than $1.6 million to accommodate the Haitians.
Commenting on the UNHCR support, Dr. Barbara Carby, Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), said the agency would not be able to contribute more to the programme unless it made an appeal for contributions from its donors. She said the UNHCR had requested a budget from the ODPEM to guide them in that effort.
She was speaking at a meeting of the Portland Disaster Committee at the Seventh Day Adventist Church Hall in Port Antonio on Wednesday, March 10.
Discussing the medium to long term accommodation programme for the refugees, Dr. Carby said the plan was to house them at the Montpelier facility in St. James, until a decision regarding their repatriation or the granting of political asylum was made.
Mentioning that all the refugees who were cleared medically would be moved to Montpelier before the end of March, she said although the facility might not be completed by that time, it would nevertheless be sufficiently rehabilitated to accommodate the refugees.
Dr. Carby told the meeting that the long-term plan regarding the operation of the Montpelier facility would include the engagement of a camp director and additional staff.
She said that the Montpelier facility would also be used as an emergency centre by the ODPEM and the Jamaica Defence Force as a shelter for displaced persons who might come to the country in the future.Dr. Carby thanked the Portland Disaster Committee for the effort it had made in providing accommodation for the refugees. She also expressed gratitude to the numerous organizations and individuals who made contributions to the programme.

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