Jamaica: Help for hurricane victims in Bath, St. Thomas

KINGSTON (JIS): Friday, April 25, 2008

  • Six new housing solutions will be built in Bath, St. Thomas, for needy persons who were affected by Hurricane Dean last year, with funding being provided by the German Embassy.

A cheque valued at some $778,000 was handed over yesterday (April 23), to the Bath Community Development Committee (CDC) by Charge d'Affaires at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Maria Friedrich-Boerger, at a ceremony held at the Amity Hall Primary School, Amity Hall, St. Thomas, to launch the Bath CDC/German Embassy Indigent Housing Project.

A committee, comprising Chairman of the Bath CDC, Devon Nelson-Phillips; Project Manager, Michael White and Councillor for the Bath Division, Ludlow Matheson, has been set up to manage the project.

Addressing the beneficiaries and members of the Bath community, the Charge d'Affaires said the Embassy was happy to provide funding for the project, noting that it would help to bring the community together.

"You will get everything to build your own homes. I think this is a wonderful thing to do and I am sure everybody in this good community will help and will watch the progress," she said.

Mrs. Friedrich-Boerger said she would be returning later this year to look at the progress of the project. "I'm looking forward to doing more projects in the future," she added.

"The new place will help me a lot. Me and my kids are very happy and grateful," Pamela Wright, a beneficiary of the project told JIS News. She said her house was destroyed by Hurricane Dean in August 2007, forcing her to live in a makeshift structure, which is inadequate, especially for the children.

The Project Manager said the six beneficiaries have been living in "extremely inadequate housing," because they have found it very difficult to rebuild their homes. As a result, the German Embassy was approached for funding to assist them.

"The committee aims to provide simple but adequate housing solutions for some of the persons living in inadequate housing," he said. Mr. White added that the money would be used to purchase materials, such as plywood, zinc and cement, while the construction of the solutions would be done by volunteers.

"It is really the community coming together along with the German Embassy to help the neediest in our community. I think it is a good thing and as a community, we have to come together to help the less fortunate amongst us," he said.

Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson in his remarks said the project would "make a difference in the lives of the parents and their children, who are now exposed to the battering of the weather, because of the state of their premises." He also congratulated the German Embassy for assisting the community.

"Many of the Embassies in Jamaica are community conscious and have been extending a helping hand to the people of Jamaica. In so doing, the bond between Germany and Jamaica strengthens," he said.