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Central Kingston caretaker urges gov't to provide promised help to disaster victims

The government and its agencies that provide welfare support are being urged to ensure that victims of disasters receive promised assistance.

The appeal has come from Imani Duncan Price, caretaker for Central Kingston.

Mrs Duncan Price says the more than 30 residents left homeless from Monday's fire are in desperate need of immediate assistance.

She says representatives of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) have collected the names of the affected persons, and other commitments have come, including from Prime Minister Andrew Holness who visited the area on Tuesday. 

However, she appealed for more immediate help and solutions for people in times of disaster or crisis. 

Noting that none of the promised assistance came on the day the residents' homes were destroyed by fire, Mrs. Duncan Price shared that a group of 'Friends of Central Kingston' had to mobilise to provide the fire victims with necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and food. 

They also had to work with the residents to find family, friends or other community members they could stay with in the short term. 

While she commended the KSAMC for taking the residents' information so assistance can be provided, she insisted more on-the-spot help was needed.

Mrs Duncan Price said toiletries, bedding, clothes and school supplies are among the current needs of the displaced residents.

More than 30 residents of James Street and Smith Lane in the constituency were left homeless after a fire razed six houses and damaged four others.

Residents are adamant the fire was deliberately set as they say gunshots rang out as they tried to save their belongings. 

But the police have said there is no evidence to suggest it was arson.

To add to Mrs Duncan Price's complaints, she said residents of Beeston Street in Central Kingston whose houses were firebombed in June last year, are still awaiting the assistance that was promised to help them rebuild. 

She said those residents did receive food supplies at the time but building materials they were promised have not been forthcoming. 

"A part of democracy is accountability, so when our leaders make promises, we have to hold them to account for the benefit of people who are hardworking Jamaicans," she asserted.  

Mrs Duncan Price was speaking Thursday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106.