Jamaica: UK community makes donation to Gustav recovery fund

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LONDON(JIS): Sunday, October 19, 2008 - Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Burchell Whiteman, will hand over a cheque for =A310,000 (more than one million Jamaican dollars) to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) next week.

This represents the second portion of the more than =A323,000 ($3 million) that to date, has been donated to the Jamaican High Commission's recovery fund that was set up on September 5, in the wake of Tropical Storm Gustav, which severely affected the island on August 29.

The High Commission's Fund will go to the national Disaster Recovery Fund, which was launched by Prime Minister, Bruce Golding.

Mr. Whiteman said the contributions came from a wide cross section of the community. "Our people in the UK and friends of our country, have also been rising to the occasion and responding to the appeals for contribution to the Recovery Fund. Within a fortnight, the UK effort brought in over =A320,000 and the flow continues, despite the challenges in the economic situation here and elsewhere. As is the case back home, the contributions have come from a wide cross-section of the community, with donors being small, large, and in-between, on any scale you might choose to apply," he said.

High Commissioner Whiteman said he was confident that the funds will be appropriately used, and that the authorities are making correct decisions in respect of further building approvals, location of houses, and environmental protection.

"This year, Gustav hit us and hit us badly - not as seriously as our neighbours, but at $10.3 billion (=A376m) damage, badly enough. What is heartening, however, is the speed and efficiency with which the critical agencies and the people themselves, responded to the disaster and got the country up and running again at reasonable levels. The national spirit continues to be a source of pride," he added.