Jamaica: Gustav victims to get housing assistance

News and Press Release
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The Ministry of Water and Housing and Food for the Poor have collaborated to assist persons whose houses were destroyed by Tropical Storm Gustav in August.

The Ministry is providing the land, while Food for the Poor is providing housing for the victims.

According to information supplied by the Ministry's technical team, the Ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, carried out several assessments on the socio-economic status of the victims in the worst affected parishes, including Kingston and St. Andrew, Portland, St. Thomas, and St. Catherine.

Food for the Poor is expected to deliver some 200 housing units to beneficiaries as soon as a list is supplied by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. The cost of a single unit is $30,000, while the double unit will cost $60,000.

Assessments have so far been done on 139 of the 248 affected families in Kingston and St. Andrew; 56 of the 116 affected families in Portland; 28 of the 34 affected families in St. Thomas, and 23 of the 29 affected families in St. Catherine. Those affected fall into two categories: persons whose houses were totally destroyed; and those who had partial damage to sections of their roof or to the housing structure.

The Ministry is now focusing on persons whose houses were totally destroyed during the passage of the storm. Affected householders, who own their own land, or have been given permission to use family land, have the option of rebuilding on site or "infilling" with the assistance of Food for the Poor.

Those whose homes were located in areas such as the Hope River Valley and Buff Bay in Portland, which have been declared 'no-build zones' by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), are to be relocated.

Victims whose houses were located in the vicinity of the Hope River are to be relocated to Albion in St. Thomas where the Ministry is currently carrying out site investigation and planning. The assessment is to be completed by December this year.

The other solution for the Hope River Valley victims is the identification of infill housing in and around the Kingston Metropolitan Area for those who have expressed a desire to remain in the Corporate Area. The Ministry is compiling a list of all available lands to fulfill this purpose.

Land has also been identified at Darlingford in Portland, where the Technical Services Unit of the Ministry is currently preparing the subdivision plan for 25 units.