Help for family of 19
GOVERNMENT?has rushed to the assistance of the 19 member Holder family who lost three neighbouring homes at Gas Products Road, Wildey St.Michael and most of their possessions during tropical storm,Tomas.
Minister of Housing, Michael Lashley and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, visited the family on Friday night at the one room house at Barbarees Hill, St Michael, where they were being temporarily accompanied and by yesterday morning, the two ministers were back at the house overseeing the relocation of some of them to another house.
Brathwaite, whose Ministry is in charge of co-ordinating the relief efforts said the family’s dire situation “had unfortunately fell through the cracks during the heat of the moment last Saturday”. He explained that while the Ministry of Housing had provided the temporary accommodation for the family they were not fully apprised of the numbers involved. He said the true situation was only brought to the attention of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) by a welfare officer during a mneeting last Friday afternoon.
“I?immediately contacted Minister Lashley and we came last night (Friday) and looked at the accomodation and recognised it wasn’t a good situation, he said.”
Marcia Holder and Roxanne Gittens, the two women with babies as well as Harriette Holder, who is diabetic, were relocated to a two bedroom apartment at Black Rock, St Michael.
Minister Lashley pointed out that a three bedroom unit at Wildey, St Michael, had already been identified for the family and should be available soon when the electrical upgrade was completed.
He explained that because of the numbers involved and the total destruction which the family had suffered their case would be fast tracked, but he pointed out that the were a lot of other families which the NHC, as well as the Rural and Urban Development Commissions were working to provide housing for.
He said rapid response units had been established at the three agencies and by tomorrow there will be a a hotline at the NHC dealing with persons affected by the storm.
He added that carpenters were already in the field with material executing repairs at a number of houses.
Meanwhile, Brathwaite urged storm victims to contact the DEM so that their situations can be properly logged and dealt with. “If the effort is not properly co-ordinated we will have these kinds of situations”, he said referring to the Holder family.
He said to date the DEM’s database had recorded 615 cases with 90 of those being persons whose homes were completely destroyed.
“It is going to take us several months to complete this task”, he stated, lamenting that the DEM?was also now discovering that there were still some outstanding cases of persons affected by hurricane Lili in 2002, who were still awaiting assistance.
“I want to assure Barbadians that under my watch this will not happen”, Brathwaite said, while emphasising that all of the social agencies were working together to bring the various relief which was needed.
He however thanked officials from the Barbados Light and Power and the barbados Water Works for working to ensure that their utilities were back on and workers form the Ministry of Transport and Work, who he pointed out were working diligently to clean up the debris.