PERSONS WHO lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy will be the first in line to benefit from a joint initiative between relief agency Food For The Poor (FFP) and the Government.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller made the announcement yesterday while updating the House of Representatives on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the island.
"We had the discussion in Cabinet, and the decision was that those who lost everything should be the first that should be dealt with," Simpson Miller said.
She was responding to a suggestion from West Portland Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz, who advocated for the fast-tracking of the building of FFP houses for eastern parishes.
Simpson Miller said Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies was to engage FFP "to ensure that we push, subject to the people being able to demonstrate the right to build on the lot".
ASSESSMENTS BEING DONE
Simpson Miller told the Parliament that a team of 120 officers were in the field conducting damage assessments to housing and personal effects.
She said 945 verified assessments have already been completed in St Thomas, Portland and St Mary - the hardest-hit areas.
"So far, we have identified 71 homes that were totally destroyed, 348 homes were severely damaged and 526 houses incurred minor damage."
The prime minister said vouchers would be distributed through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to assist persons affected by Sandy.
Simpson Miller, in the Budget Debate this year, said FFP was to collaborate with the Government to provide 1,200 housing units each year to needy Jamaicans over the next five years.
Yesterday, Dr Morais Guy, the minister without portfolio in the housing ministry, said housing construction has already started, but the intention was to focus on eastern parishes since they were hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.