NRF faces 178 applications

| 10/12/2008

(CNS): According to the National Hurricane Recovery Programmes Director Dr Mark Laskin, 178 families have applied for assistance to the charity and he says the vast majority of those applications meet the criteria laid down by the fund. However, without more funding he will not be able to help more than 25% of the people who are in need.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s Talk Today programme on Wednesday, 10 December, Laskin revealed the number of applicants and said that the NRF had already reviewed 50 homes and a number of contracts for work to start have already been signed. But with so many applicants in need and meeting the funds’ criteria, unless the NRF receives more donations Laskin said they would not be able to help everyone.

“I hate to beg for money but I am begging. We can only do the work if we get the money and we are completely dependent on private funds,” Dr Laskin said, adding that the funds for Cayman Brac had been separated from the funds for Ivan rebuilds. “People can be assured that 100% of the money they donate will gotowards rebuilding Brac homes and nothing else.”

Laskin added that it will take around $4 million to help all the eligible applicants and that he hoped to see more donations coming in to get closer to that target, as at the moment the fund had only around $800,000. He explained that the criteria established by the NRF for helping people was: the applicant had to be low or no income, their home had to be a relatively low value property, they cannot have any insurance or any other way of helping themselves. He noted that the elderly and those with young children were also a priority.

However, many of the 178 applicants meet these criteria, and Laskin says he thinks the proportion of people on Cayman Brac without insurance is fairly high and it will be very challenging for the NRF to help everyone in need. He also called on those people living in Grand Cayman with relatives in Cayman Brac that were of reasonable means to try and help their relatives to remove some of the pressure on the fund, because many people were in dire need.

He said that the damage to some homes was severe and would require complete reconstruction, though wherepossible they were drying people in

“For some people we will need to look at complete rebuilds as soon as possible,” he said. He noted that in those cases some donors were exploring the possibility of ‘adopting a house’, where by they would not only pay for the materials and labour but would also send staff and volunteers to help with the work.

Laskin said that no re-builds were likely to cost more than $100,000 and many could be redone for as little as $45,000. He explained lessons had been learned from Hurricane Ivan and that all the contractors working on NRF projects would be paid as work was completed and not before.  

“We will also keep a retention fund to ensure that contractors complete the work before the final payments are made on any project,” Laskin added. He also noted that all the contractors working with NRF must be in-line with employment regulations and have experience. However, the workload on the island is making things difficult and he said that although the fund is working with Brac contractors, of the 22 they have contacted only two are available to them, so Laskin said they are going to have to work with firms on Grand Cayman




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