THE Jamaica Red Cross says that it needs some $10 million to finance relief assistance for flood victims, and other persons affected by rains associated with the tropical depression affecting Jamaica over the past three days.
The JRC has been working with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the Ministry of Health and other agencies, in a national response to the tropical depression. The funds have been requested from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund of the International Red Cross (IRC).
“They are willing to let us have some of that, so the money we will be getting from that will enable us to pay for the things that we plan to do,” deputy director general of the Jamaica Red Cross Lois Hue told JIS News.
Additionally, said Hue, some of the funds will be used to support the Ministry of Health’s Dengue Emergency Programme, and to purchase the chemical, malathion, used to destroy mosquito breeding sites.
“There is a big possibility that this may be a problem, with all the water that is staying on the ground and the threat of Dengue, so we are looking at assisting the Ministry with finding the chemical to deal with that,” she said.
She said that tarpaulin is chief among the needs of the people, and the Red Cross has been busy distributing to persons whose homes have been leaking due to the heavy rainfall. So far, some 125 tarpaulins have been distributed to families in St Catherine. Food packages and tarpaulins have been distributed to families in Kingston and St Andrew.
Hue said that blankets and hygiene kits were also in great demand by affected persons. She reported that further distribution of aid will be determined by damage assessments but that the work of JRC volunteers remained hampered by bad weather conditions and difficulty in reaching some areas.
“I know that in Westmoreland there are some places that they would like to go to, but they cannot,” she said. She stated that Westmoreland was the worst affected parish, based on assessments conducted so far.