Jamaica pledges storm aid

Jamaica has pledged assistance to the families of the 12 persons who died as a result of Tropical Storm Gustav which struck the island last Thursday.

In a statement to Parliament yesterday, on the impact of the tropical storm, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been instructed to provide help with funeral expenses.

Six days after the passage of Gustav, 13 communities in St Thomas, Portland, St Andrew and St Catherine are still marooned due to landslides and breakaways.

Golding told the House that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management has been airlifting food supplies to these communities.

Preliminary reports indicate that more than 200 houses were destroyed or suffered extensive damage as a result of the tropical storm. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is now conducting assessments to determine which families were seriously impacted by the storm.

The prime minister told his parliamentary colleagues that displaced persons would get help in recovering from the effects of Gustav. In particular, he said assistance would be provided to rebuild or repair affected houses.

Estimates for houses destroyed or damaged should be completed in the next seven days. Other assessments for repair to roads, infrastructure, schools, health facilities, water and sewerage systems will also be completed by next week.

Not willing to provide a preliminary estimate of the overall damage, Golding said the cost was expected to be significant and would require adjustments to the Government’s budget.

Members of Parliament will receive a disbursement of $2 million to assist constituents who were hit hard by the tropical storm.

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