KINGSTON, Jamaica - Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has ordered all government agencies to submit reports outlining areas in need of immediate attention following the passage of Hurricane Sandy that left at least one man dead.
In her address to the nation Thursday night, Simpson Miller said reports should be submitted Friday and the contents considered by Cabinet on Monday.
Hurricane Sandy, the first storm to hit the island since the passage of Hurricane Gustav in 2007, is now moving out of the Bahamas.
Simpson Miller, who had earlier this week cut short an official visit to Canada, said that she has already met with national disaster executives where she had been given a preliminary report on the damage caused by the hurricane.
“Apart from the visible signs of flooding and blocked roads, there was evidence of widespread damage to small farms and crops, and some damage to roofs. Several rivers also remain in-spate,” the Prime minister said noting that the eastern parts of the island received the most damage.”
She said that teams from the various agencies and contractors have been deployed to clear roads, and to restore electricity.
Simpson Miller also thanked the Trinidad and Tobago government which has offered to provide assistance in the rebuilding process.
“Representatives of governments from the international community, including my sister Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago have made contact to enquire what they can do to assist in our recovery activities. I know these are challenging times, but, as we have done in the past, we will draw on the indomitable spirit, strength, courage, determination and resilience of our people to unite and to work together to get through this challenging period,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, (ODPEM) said it would be airlifting supplies to people in communities in the eastern section of the island severely affected by the storm.
ODPEM director-general, Ronald Jackson, said personnel from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) are assisting with the transportation of food and water as parliamentary representative for West Portland, Daryl Vaz, has called on the authorities to declare his area a disaster zone.
Vaz, said while no estimates have yet been prepared, the agricultural sector has taken a major hit, with some communities cut off because of landslides. He said if the parish was declared a disaster zone then it could attract more assistance from donors.