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Jamaicans impacted by Harvey in Texas to get assistance

Published:Tuesday | August 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Volunteers and first responders work together to rescue residents from rising floodwaters in Houston, Texas, yesterday. Forecasters expect the storm to linger over the Gulf before heading back inland east of Houston sometime today. The system will then head north and lose its tropical strength.

With an estimated Jamaican population of 60,000 living in Houston, Texas, and its environs, Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said it is taking steps to assist Jamaicans who have been severely impacted by the effects of Harvey.

What is now a tropical storm, Harvey first made landfall as a Category Four hurricane, causing widespread devastation in Houston and has displaced thousands of residents.

Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said her ministry has made contact with the Office of Missions to alert it to the presence of Jamaican nationals in the affected areas and to seek their assistance in providing relief efforts.

"While the disaster is still unfolding, with an estimated Jamaican population in Houston and surrounding areas of 60,000 persons, it is likely that members of the community are located in the affected segments of the city. The ministry is, in fact, already aware of persons who have been affected or will likely be affected by the floods," she said. "In fact, on Monday, the consul general of Jamaica to Miami and myself made contact with an at-risk Jamaican family which was rescued and relocated."

Johnson Smith added, "The extent of damage/impact will, however, only become clearer in the coming days."

The ministry gave the assurance that the Jamaican Consulate General in Miami has been making enquiries to ascertain the extent of the impact of Harvey on the Jamaican community.

As the crisis continues to unfold, the ministry has provided the following numbers to Jamaicans who are in contact with persons in need of assistance in Texas:


- Elderly and disabled: 211

- City of Houston Helpline: 311

- City of Houston Office of Emergency Management: 713-884-4500

- Federal Emergency Management Agency: 1-800-621-3362

- Coast Guard: 281-464-4851 to 55

Contact can also be made with the Jamaican Consulate General in Miami at

305-374-8431; by email at, or by Twitter @cg_miami.