15 remaining flood victims still in Diego shelter
By JANELLE DE SOUZA Tuesday, September 18 2012
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Up until yesterday, 15 persons were still living in the emergency shelter at the Diego Martin Central Community Centre on Wendy Fitzwilliam Boulevard after the heavy rains of August 11 last.
Many hoped to be relocated to Housing Development Corporation (HDC) homes. Last week they protested, claiming they had been ignored by the company.
At the time, HDC Managing Director, Jearlean John, said some of the residents did not meet the requirements for being relocated.
However, yesterday she said HDC was attempting to assist those who were eligible to be given temporary housing. “We are really trying our best to see what we can do for them, but housing is subject to availability,” said John.
According to John, “very shortly,” the housing developments being built by the HDC would be allocated to persons already in the system. She said HDC units were not the residents’ only option. She suggested they could look for places to rent.
Immediately after the flood, the shelter housed 30 to 35 persons, some stayed at the Centre full- time, some visited for meals alone, while others would come and go for meals, and to sleep.
Over the weeks, several residents were temporarily relocated at Oropune Gardens, Piarco, where they seemed to have settled down. In the mean time, other victims trickled in, bolstering the reduced numbers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of the People and Social Development plans to continue its distribution of grant cheques.
Odessa Kerr-Lyne, Communications Specialist at the ministry said there would be a mass distribution of cheques at the Diego Martin Corporation’s Transport Yard, North Post Road, later this week. Approximately 195 persons would receive grants for home repairs, furniture, appliances, and more.
Kerr-Lyne said, while the on-site assessment period was up, persons from Diego Martin and Laventille, who were affected by the floods and landslides, were still going into the ministry with claims for losses. Since applications were still being processed, she could not give neither the total number of grants, nor the cost.
The ministry previously distributed 156 cheques during a cheque-distribution ceremony at the Emergency Operations Centre in Diego Martin on August 30 last. Social Development Minister, Glenn Ramadharsingh, said the cheques were to help residents “move towards a certain amount of normalcy.” The cheques ranged in value according to family’s needs.
Chairman of the Diego Martin Regional Corporation, Anthony Sammy, also noted that people were still going to the corporation for assistance. He said some persons who had been staying at family and friends, had only recently decided to contact the corporation for manual labour to clean up their homes, and assistance to sign up for grants.
Sammy said the corporation would ensure some assessments were done, and advised the necessary ministries.
He added that the corporation had yet to receive the total cost of damages to the area. Up until last Saturday, the corporation was still receiving bills from various agencies. However, he said clean-up operations were 85 to 90 percent complete.