Three months after being devastated by flooding, some residents of Bamboo Settlement #2 and St Augustine South are yet to receive flood relief grants, says Member of Parliament for St Augustine Khadijah Ameen.
She claimed that, in some cases, residents who lost everything in the flood received as little as $2,500, could not replace a washing machine or refrigerator. (Flood-affected individuals can receive grants of up to $10,000 to replace household items.)
Others residents, Ameen said, were “bumped off” the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services’ grant management system due to a technical error.
In a statement yesterday, she called on Social Development Minister Donna Cox to deal with outstanding flood relief grants.
“There are some residents that received phone calls to verify information, while some of those have received additional phone calls to double-check the same information but are still awaiting their cheque,” Ameen stated.
“I also encountered a number of people who did not receive calls that decided to contact the ministry themselves only to find out that they are not on the database. Upon checking with the regional corporation, their names are not there either despite these persons being visited by both ministry officials and members of the Disaster Management Unit,” she added.
Ameen said she sent correspondence to the minister on behalf of the people who were bumped off the system, to ensure that they will still be accommodated.
“These residents have proof of the damage and they also live in the midst of the area that was affected where the ministry collected data, so I am hoping that there is fairness to all the victims of flooding,” she said.
“I am also appealing to the ministry to be reasonable with the compensation being given out in the flood grant as most of the people would have lost thousands of dollars in structural damages and loss of appliances. Giving someone $2,500 or even $3,500 does not begin to replace the losses, so I am asking the ministry to be considerate and reasonable,” she went on.
At a Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) meeting earlier this month, national director of the Ministry of Social Development’s National Social Development Programme Patricia De Leon-Henry revealed that of the 5,454 flood relief applications the Ministry received in 2022, 2,894 applications have been interrogated “so far” and 1,255 cheques were made.
Ameen urged the ministry to complete these works on time prevent further catastrophe. Efforts to contact Cox yesterday were unsuccessful.