KINGSTON — Government has enlisted the assistance of the Jamaica Defence Force’s engineering unit to expedite the construction of some 500 houses for residents, whose homes were destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 24.
The aim is to complete construction by December 25, Christmas Day.
Making the disclosure at yesterday’s weekly Jamaica House press briefing, state minister in the transport, works and housing ministry, Dr. Morais Guy, said that a total of 82 houses were in varying stages of construction.
The project, which commenced in November in collaboration with Food for the Poor, will see homes being built for residents in the parishes of St Mary, Portland and St. Thomas.
Minister Guy noted that so far, 28 houses have been completed, while “10 foundations have been added and the rest are in varying stages of completion”.
“We have, however, recognised that we will not be in a position, solely with the help of Food for the Poor, to achieve the complete building of the houses by the 25th of December. Hence, the Jamaica Defence Force Engineering Unit, as of last evening, are now working in tandem with Food for the Poor, on the construction of these houses,” Guy stated.
He said that the incessant rains in the eastern parishes over the past few weeks had delayed construction to some extent, but assured that the project will be completed within good time.
In the meantime, he noted that the government is also working closely with a number of the families who will be relocated, as they are living in areas that are highly vulnerable to environmental hazards.
The state minister said this relates specifically to communities that are prone to flooding and storm surges and areas that are not approved for building. These include communities such as Manchioneal and Annotto Bay. (Observer)