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Only 49 remain in hurricane shelters


Nearly three months after the passage of Hurricane Tomas, the 1,300 persons housed at emergency relief shelters across the country, have been reduced to 49.{{more}}

This revelation was made on Friday, January 21, by Acting Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) Michelle Forbes, at the handing over of a cheque, in which LIME presented NEMO with $11,685, at Cabinet room.

Forbes told reporters that NEMO has to provide relief on a weekly basis for these persons and that the Housing and Land Development Corporation (HLDC) and the Mustique Company Charity has been working along with them to assist in getting persons out of these shelters as soon as possible.

She said it would take longer for some persons to move, owing to the fact that some persons have to relocate.

Forbes noted that on February 7, a team from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean will be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to conduct a post-impact macro socio-economic assessment of Tomas. “This is really crucial for us and we will see the fall out on the socio-economic side of Tomas,” she said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, also on hand at the handing over, said the government has been working feverishly to get persons back to their homes. He further stated that the Adult and Continuing Education programme has been disrupted at some institutions in certain areas, because they have been serving as shelters.

“I want the people in shelters to know I am following very closely, the numbers. I think about you all the time,” Gonsalves said.

Gonsalves mentioned that he has asked the Minister of Housing and has spoken directly to the Chief Executive Officer of the HLDC to give priority for housing to those persons in shelters.

“One of the difficulties has been to find lands. If the persons have land, it is easy for us to put up something quickly, but when we have to go look for the land, it becomes a challenge,” Gonsalves said.