Waynette Strachan, the People’s National Party (PNP) junior spokesperson for local government and community development, is urging the Government to provide swift relief to citizens who were severely impacted by Friday’s heavy rains.
Torrential rains brought on by Potential Cyclone 22 led to flooding, landslides, and blocked roads across Jamaica, with many citizens requiring assistance to recover from its impact.
“The situation is dire, and the need for immediate assistance cannot be overstated. Thousands of individuals require urgent relief in the form of essential supplies such as food, bedding, home repairs, and restoration of critical infrastructure like drains and retaining walls. Lives are in jeopardy, and people are enduring tremendous hardships,” Strachan contended.
She further warned the Government against politicising relief efforts and giving resources to particular constituencies while neglecting others.
Strachan pointed out that the recent tours by Labour and Social Security Minister Pearnel Charles Jr, while reportedly delivering supplies and conducting assessments in some communities, failed to encompass the full extent of the crisis, leaving many vulnerable people unassisted.
During a tour of rural St Andrew and St Thomas, Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised that the Government will provide support to citizens affected by the heavy rains, prioritising those in dire need of assistance.
He said that the National Works Agency (NWA) and other government agencies have promptly responded, clearing approximately 95 per cent of the 70 roads that were blocked due to landslide.
“The primary concern I’ve received is the need for building grants, particularly in the aftermath of heavy rains that highlight the vulnerabilities of our housing infrastructure, much of which is significantly deteriorated. Many individuals have reported significant leaks and damage to their roofing,” said Holness.
He said the Government will provide the grants to citizens affected, starting with those in dire need of assistance. The Ministry of Local Government is also providing support in the form of food, shelter, and other necessities to those affected.
An assessment of the damage sustained due to the adverse weather system is ongoing.