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Social Services Aids in Hurricane Relief

The Department of Social Services says it is doing its job in administering aid to Hurricane Joaquin’s victims.

During an address at the Office of the Prime Minister last week, Acting Director of Social Services, Lillian Quant-Forbes said her ministry was the first on the ground to conduct rapid assessments of the hurricane victims’ homes.

She said a team of 14 members were initially sent out to affected islands including Rum Cay, San Salvador, Crooked Island, Long Island and Acklins.

Subsequently, a second team of 11 was sent out to Long Island, Acklins and Crooked Island to continue assessments.

According to Mrs. Quant-Forbes, the ministry, as of last week Wednesday, would have completed hundreds of assessments and would have acted upon its findings.

Additionally, Mrs. Quant-Forbes noted that the public should be cognizant that the Help Desk, which was established by her ministry on October 8, 2015, was designed specifically to assist victims of Hurricane Joaquin and to formulate a register of individuals who would have relocated from the affected islands to New Providence.

She noted that in the past, individuals have attempted to receive assistance for damage caused by previous storms.

As of last week Wednesday, Quant-Forbes said that her ministry has completed 55 such assessments, all of whom received food assistance.

From that group, she said eight families received temporary housing accommodations, but two families have since left the accommodations provided.

Mrs. Quant- Forbes said that she along with other ministry officials visited Long Island about a week ago and the scene was none like she had seen before.

“When I went to Long Island and I saw the devastation and I said to myself ‘how do I bring hope to the people who are here expecting to know what it is that we are doing,’ ” said Mrs. Quant- Forbes.

She said that based on her personal observations and contact with affected residents particularly in Long Island, their main concern is how do they start their lives over after taking years to establish what they had.

“My team of social workers who have gone in and worked hard in all of this and all of the other agencies are being able to get persons to understand that it is what it is and that God will bring them through,” said Mrs. Quant-Forbes.

Adding to Quant-Forbes’ presentation, Prime Minister Perry Christie said it is important for the public to understand the workings of social services knowing that they “are there to determine what is needed for survival purposes.

“Social Services are there to identify the challenges and find a way to recommend to the government how those challenges should be met,” said Mr. Christie.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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