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Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Judy Thomas. (FP)

Members of the public who became severely impacted by a weather system affecting Barbados will now have 15 days to place their names on the national list for public assistance.

Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Judy Thomas, stressed this today and noted that names should be submitted to the police station nearest to the affected house, the District Emergency Organisation for the area or to the DEM.

Ms. Thomas was at the time addressing members of the media during DEM’s annual press conference on the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season at their Warrens, St. Michael office, this morning.

Noting that the question of relief and rehabilitation was one that would come immediately after the all clear, she added that efforts were on to streamline and tighten procedures, as a result of the Tomas experience in 2010.

"In the event that something happens we will compile this information to ensure that there is a database to work with. Within the context of the emergency we will not have the database being added to after more than 15 days. Fifteen days is the cut-off point during which people can understand that they have been impacted and want to get public assistance," the Director emphasised.

However, Ms. Thomas made it clear that such assistance would be primarily for those who were indigent, below the socio-economic provision, and the elderly. "We will not be giving assistance to persons with insurance. There will be a means test to qualify for public assistance. That [procedure] will be followed to ensure that those most vulnerable get the assistance first. Any other support that is provided will have to be determined…," she said.

It was pointed out that DEM was also working with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency mechanism to provide support to Caribbean countries in the region. ??And, Ms. Thomas noted that the DEM was responsible for the sub-regional focal point including Dominica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, and was required to provide some offshore support to those countries if severely impacted.

"We are also available to provide support to the north and southern sub-regions as well. We are not only gearing up for a Barbados impact, but are looking to provide support for a Caribbean response under the regional response mechanism," she explained.

The Department of Emergency Management will also be working with members of the international communities to ensure coordination under the Eastern Caribbean donor group mechanism and mobilisation of Barbadians in metropolitan cities.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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