PROVIDENCIALES, TCI (UNDP) — One hundred and three Turks and Caicos Islanders who suffered losses during the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria recently concluded participation in a cash for work clean-up programme supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in Kingston, Jamaica.
The country office, which serves Jamaica, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), partnered with the TCI government and the Red Cross in delivering the clean-up programme over a four week period starting February on the two hardest hit islands – Grand Turk and South Caicos.
The cash for work programme is part of a package of crisis response solutions developed by the UNDP’s Kingston-based country office in consultation with the TCI government following the passage of the category five hurricanes.
The country office is also supporting the creation of a debris and waste management plan comprising medium- to long-term management and recycling strategies and is supporting the government’s disaster recovery and resilience plans.
To this end, support is being made available for the development of a financial protection strategy, disaster risk reduction training and recovery grants for micro, small and medium enterprises, to be completed by the end of May 2018.
Richard Kelly, programme specialist at UNDP Jamaica said the cash for work programme delivered immediate support to those hardest hit and, as such, it was mandatory to recruit workers who were most impacted by the hurricanes.
He said this approach had the result of injecting needed cash in the hurricane-affected communities, providing temporary training and employment opportunities to the recruited workers, 30 percent of them women.
Programme analyst for capacity development in UNDP Jamaica, Ava Whyte Anderson, said the project provided immediate short-term livelihood to 42 beneficiaries on South Caicos and 61 on Grand Turk.
One male worker, whose roof took a battering, welcomed the work.
“I could (now) buy some material to repair my roof,” he said. “I thank God for everything for the help they give us because things were very rough for us – very tough.”
One female worker, whose house was damaged during in the storm, also thanked God for the work.
“I had no job, nothing to do. Now I get something to do to help my children and my house…” she said.
Yvette Cox, district commissioner, South Caicos, which has hard hit by the hurricanes, declares the strategy a success.
“It went well and served the purpose two fold – by … helping those most vulnerable and significantly affected by the hurricanes, and the island benefitted through the clean-up.
“I feel the programme has been a success in that although we had done a great deal of clean up there was still small debris stuck between trees and on sidewalk like– bottles, cans, plastic, wood zinc, etc. that might not have been cleaned up earlier,” the district commissioner said.
Garvin Thomas, assistant deputy director of public works in the ministry of infrastructure, housing and planning, said clean up lasted for 15 work days spanning a four week period, and was monitored by Public Works Department and the Red Cross.
He said he liked the integral role played by the Red Cross and deemed the project a success and an inspiration.
Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria passed by the Turks and Caicos Islands in September 2017, severely damaging especially the islands of South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.