Basseterre, St. Kitts – Following the passage of two hurricanes within a two-week span impacting the federation, the government has announced that preliminary damages estimates for both storms have risen to more than $140 million in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Speaking in a national address on Sept. 23, Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Timothy Harris gave preliminary assessments for both St. Kitts and Nevis, but noted the preliminary damage assessment reports for St. Kitts and Nevis are currently being for Hurricane Maria.
“Public sector infrastructure suffered significant damages,” he said. “Some critical infrastructure such as our electricity and waters services, our road network at Old Road, our fisheries complex and the Irish Town Bay Road, the agricultural sector, our coastline and environment sustained serious damages. Our sporting facilities at Challengers and the Kim Collins Stadium also sustained damages.
“Preliminary estimates put damage to the federal public sector at around EC$38.5 million and counting. That on Nevis has been put by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) at EC$50 million, for a total preliminary assessment of EC$88.5 million in public sector damages as a consequence of Hurricane Maria.”
He then added that the public sector received damages then of more than $140 million following both hurricanes.
“It should be noted that so far, apart from insurance claims approved by CCRIF of US $2.29 million we are faced to carry this burden of recovery alone.” Harris also announced duty-free concessions on the purchase and or importation of building materials to repair damages to residential properties.
“We understand that while we help those abroad we must help those at home who suffered, too,” he said. “The programme will be initiated immediately and will continue for a period of six months until the end of March 2018.”
The prime minister also gave details as to how one can benefit from such a programme.
“Applications should be made via the Ministry of Finance,” he said. “Application forms will be available early next week and can be collected at the Ministry of Finance, Treasury Department, Inland Revenue Department, NEMA or the Ministry of Finance website at www.mof.gov.kn,” he said. “For verification of the damage claimed by each applicant, the Ministry of Finance will rely on the list prepared by NEMA. In cases where the damage was not reported to NEMA, the building inspectors at the Ministry of Sustainable Development or Public Works Department would be consulted to verify the information provided by the applicant.”
Harris further noted that that residents who suffered damages to their property are asked to contact construction professionals to assist with preparing estimates of the materials to repair their property.
“The government is intent on helping to restore normalcy to the lives of all … in the quickest time possible.,” he said. “We also hope that the repairs would result in a much stronger and more resilient housing stock in the federation.”
He however warned individuals to remember that the hurricane season is still in progress.
“Please continue to heed the public advisories issued by the National Disaster Mitigation Council, the National Emergency Management Agency, the Met Office, the Ministry of Health and our other government agencies during this very active 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season,” he said.