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‘Build back’: Reconstruction of more than 500 houses – Duguid

by Barbados Today
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Ministry of Housing assessments of the damage caused by Hurricane Elsa in July and the mid-June freak storm reveal 541 houses are to be rebuilt across the country, with just over 600 structures requiring partial repairs, said Minister Dr William Duguid.

He said: “There are 541 houses to be rebuilt across Barbados based on all of the assessments that have been done. Repairs, there are 421 wooden houses to be repaired, and 225 wall houses to be repaired.

“What we found because we did have higher numbers, is that there were some duplicate entries,..over 350 duplicate entries. Once we took out those duplicate entries the numbers came down in terms of the repairs – what we also found is that they were people in rental accommodations and people who had shops and so on and so forth, and we really at this time are not in the business of repairing rental houses because they are income generating for the landlord, or shops.”

The housing minister also said structures such as housing for animals and other auxiliary structures were also taken out of the mix, as Government’s main mandate at present was to get homes that were partially or completely destroyed during the storms, rebuilt at the earliest possible time.

“The National Housing Corporation so far has mobilized 39 contractors, and they have in fact completed 21 repairs so far,” the housing minister said. “The Urban Development Commission has mobilized 28 contractors and they have completed eight repairs, and the Rural Development Commission has mobilized 28 contractors as well, and they have completed four.

“So far from a repair point of view, we have mobilized already 94 contractors to be able to do the work for the repairs.”

Full reconstruction of 54 homes has already been started by contractors across the housing departments, with over 140 Barbadians choosing to complete repair work on their own with material being supplied by the ministry, Dr Duguid said.

“What has happened is that many people who are helping themselves, they make a list, we send it to National Housing Corporation, our QS [Quantity Surveyor] and engineers go out and assess these material lists to make sure they are appropriate and accurate, and we supply people with the materials,” he explained.

“Over 140 have done that and have benefitted, and have already repaired their house. Help me to help you; if you know you have a carpenter, you have a mason, you have a handyman that can put back and repair your house, and you give us the list of materials, let us do that so that you can get going faster because we have a lot of houses to repair or rebuild.”

Dr Duguid was speaking during a brief handover of $30,000 of building repair materials to the Government from the Roman Catholic Church.

As he thanked Father Omaris Valmond for the donation, he announced a new affordable housing development under the ministry’s HOPE project that will be soon launched for prospective homeowners.

Dubbed HOPE Advance, the project is aimed at persons earning $2,000 or less a month, More information about the homes is to be revealed in the coming weeks leading up to the launch.
(SB)

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