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HLDC estimates $30 million to complete Tomas repairs

HLDC estimates $30 million to complete Tomas repairs


Some $30 million will be needed to complete the rebuilding of houses damaged by the passage of Hurricane Tomas on October 30, 2010.{{more}}

This estimate was given by the General Manager of the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) Maurice Slater, during an interview with Searchlight on Monday, January 3, 2011.

Slater said that that the HLDC is expected to complete the rebuilding process in two to three months, with double the resources they had initially. He said that 60 per cent of the $30 million estimate will be used for materials alone.

Slater said that about EC$10 million was used for labour costs and for purchasing of materials locally; another EC$5.5 million was spent on materials purchased overseas.

Materials bought both from local and regional stores include steel, galvanize, lumber, plywood and screws, Slater said. Additional plywood was also bought to rebuild houses with plywood ceilings, Slater said. The rebuilding process will include the replacing of roofs as well as constructing new houses.

Slater explained that, initially, the Corporation had looked at just repairing roofs; however, further investigation revealed other issues, such as damage to electrical wiring caused when roofs were blown off houses.

He added that some roofs had blocks on them, and when the roofs were blown off, the blocks fell into the houses, damaging plumbing and household items. Roofs that were rebuilt, Slater said, had to be constructed in accordance with the building code, at a minimum 30 degree slope, which meant that the partitions of the houses had to be raised. This, Slater said, was the reason for purchasing additional lumber and plywood as well as blocks.

“We ended up with houses that needed substantial repair,” Slater stated.

In terms of the progress of the rebuilding, he stated that about 75 per cent of roofs that were damaged or blown off completely are back on. “The roofs may not be complete; we may not have finished the electrical, we may not have finished the partitions,” he explained. He however stated that in some cases, plastic sheeting or tarpaulin is being used temporarily.

Slater explained that, at this point, there is no one who was affected by Hurricane Tomas who is not being sheltered in one form or the other. The most critical cases, he explained, are pregnant mothers, children and those persons who are sick, whose homes had to be attended to first. Those cases he said are 100 per cent resolved.

The other instances, he explained, are persons whose roofs are being repaired in accordance with the building code, but needed their partitions to be extended and electrical wiring re-done.

The other cases are persons who were squatters on government land. Slater admitted that the corporation was ‘hard-pressed’ in those situations, but came up with a solution.

“In some cases, if the situation is very grave, if there are children in that situation, we just built back a plywood structure in the best way, so that we can provide shelter,” he explained. He added that 65 houses were also built for persons who did not have a secure residence prior to the hurricane.

Slater added that about 40 persons are still housed in shelters in Rose Hall, Chester Cottage, Owia and Sandy Bay.

The areas most severely affected by the storm, Slater stated, were the North Windward and North Leeward areas.

Slater stated that he is proud of the way in which the government responded to the crisis with urgency, so that there was no panic among the persons affected.(OS)