TWO CHILDCARE facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy last year will benefit from approximately J$9.9 million in donations from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).
Financial secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Devon Rowe, and chief executive officer of the CCRIF, Isaac Anthony, signed a memorandum of understanding for the disbursement of the funds last Friday at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, to effect rehabilitation work on the facilities.
Rowe expressed gratitude for the sum, which will go towards rehabilitation work on the Muirton Boys' Home in Portland and the Summerfield Home in Clarendon. Both facilities are homes for 43 children between the ages of seven and 18.
The financial secretary said the work will be implemented over a nine-month period.
Explaining the reason for the CCRIF's donation, Anthony noted that children, like the elderly, tend to be more vulnerable than others in society to natural hazards, have fewer financial resources, and are dependent on others for survival.
"We know that you will use these resources to ensure those facilities are rehabilitated in a manner that will enable them to withstand future hurricane impacts and enable them to be climate-resilient, as they continue to provide the shelter and services that children need," Anthony said.
In the meantime, chief executive officer at the Child Development Agency, Carla Francis-Edie, in expressing gratitude for the donation, said the funds will be used to strengthen the infrastructure of the facilities to mitigate against adverse effects from future hurricanes or other natural disasters.
"As individuals and Caribbean nationals, we all understand and appreciate how frightening and traumatic it can become when there is a natural disaster, especially one with significant negative impact. We've seen a few of those in Jamaica. The effects of these on a child's sense of safety and security can become amplified for children in our care, many of whom have already experienced being displaced from family surroundings, and now have to deal with the disruptive effects of a disaster," she said.
Francis-Edie explained that the CDA has been working assiduously to procure the funds to effect timely repairs to the facilities, in the least disruptive manner. She added that works will include the replacement of windows and doors damaged by the hurricane, but which were not included in the emergency repairs because of financial limitations; plumbing work; and the installation of storm shutters.
The CCRIF is a multi-risk insurance pooling facility, and is the first of its kind in the world. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a policy is triggered. To date, the CCRIF has paid out approximately US$33 million to seven member countries.