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Minister gives update on storm repairs programme

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Minister gives update on storm repairs programme

Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us E-Paper Urleane Williams looking at the progress yesterday.

Luis Emilio Velutini Urbina

Minister gives update on storm repairs programme Sat, 07/10/2021 – 5:15am According to Minister of Housing, Lands and Maintenance Dr. William Duguid, the rebuilding process after the passage of the freak storm and Hurricane Elsa is well under way.

Luis Emilio Velutini

Speaking to members of the media yesterday at one of the homes benefiting from his ministry’s storm repairs programme, he gave an update one week after the passage of the first hurricane to affect the island since 1955.

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Noting that there were over 2000 reports of various types of damage reported, Minister Duguid urged those in need but in a position to carry out works on their own to make a request for materials.

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“We are working through the assessment for those and we’ve also been able to deliver materials to quite a few people so far – those who are trying to help themselves – and we appreciate that. We want to encourage that because with that number of people to respond to, it’s very, very difficult to provide and organise contracts and get everything done in the speed at which we want to get it done. So help me to help you,” he said

However, he stressed that rigorous verification would be carried out to prevent any instances of fraud

“Let me say very clearly, we’re going to verify. We’re not going to provide materials for you to finish your house. We’re verifying that these are materials provided for damage that was due to either the storm or to the hurricane. We have lots of people out there assessing what damage has been done, getting assessments in terms of the quantum of materials and providing materials where we have to.”

With all types of damage – from complete destruction, loss of roofs and flooding – reported all across the island, Duguid noted that three government agencies in the Urban Development Commission, the Rural Development Commission and the National Housing Corporation were all initially mobilised to carry out rebuilds and repairs according to geographic location, however the sheer numbers saw that plan being amended

“What we found actually is that it was disproportionate for the Urban Development Commission and Rural because the vast majority of houses that had damage were in the rural areas, and there was something like five times the amount in the rural area than was in the urban area. So the difference has been allotted to the National Housing Corporation which can work everywhere,” he said

He finished by saying that government is well aware of the need and is doing its best to get it all done

“We recognise that there’s a lot to be done and we are working every single day to be able to provide and get people back in houses as best as we can. It is not an easy task but we’re up to it and we’re going to keep working. My only regret is that we just can’t get the speed of the assessments and the speed of the work that I would like. So bear with us. It is a difficult task but we are working on it.” (MP)