KINGSTON, Jan. 4 (JIS): Jamaicans in the United Kingdom (UK) have donated $2.6 million (£18,003) to assist in the rehabilitation effort after Hurricane Dean, which affected the island last August.
Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, Burchell Whiteman today (Jan. 4) handed over the cheque to Cecil Bailey, Deputy Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) at the agency’s Camp Road headquarters. He said he has received word that an additional £2,000 from the Jamaica Aid Foundation, based in Stoke-on-Trent, is on the way.
Mr. Whiteman informed that the money donated was generated through a fund opened by the High Commission as well as a garden party hosted in October.
The garden party, he noted, received good suport and attracted contributions from the British business sector, UK-based Jamaican performers as well as a substantial amount of £3,000 from Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardener, UK-based Jamaican footballer.
Stating that the cheque is “only a fraction” of the support, which came from the UK for Jamaica, he cited contributions to families, the waiving and reduction of service fees by remittance companies to allow persons to send money to their relatives in the island, and direct donations by organizations to their local counterparts or community groups.
“The Jamaican community responded extremely well,” Mr. Whiteman stated.
Mr. Bailey, in expressing thanks, said that “this donation will go a far way in assisting in the effort as we continue to carry out projects to try and rehabilitate us from the impact of Hurricane Dean.”
He mentioned the various civil service partners, concerned citizens overseas, non governmental organizations, and international donors, whose efforts help the agency “to be as effective as we are in meeting the needs of the nation during times of disaster.”
“These partnerships are partnerships that we treasure and that we put out efforts to maintain,” he stated.
The Deputy Director General said that while no specific areas have yet been earmarked for the funds, “there are several options or projects, works in progress if you will, where the funds can be directed towards either fully or be split up to meet several needs”.
Director of Information and Training at ODPEM, Kretchet Douglas-Greaves, in the meantime, informed that the damage to buildings and personal property, in addition to the hardest hit sectors of health, education, agriculture and fishing, is estimated at $23 billion.
She said that five months after the passage of Hurricane Dean, the rehabilitation efforts continue, and “we sincerely acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the Jamaican High Commission in the UK and the British High Commission in Jamaica for what we interpret as your heartfelt efforts of love, gratitude and goodwill.”