(CNS) The Dominica government has announced the establishment of a special employment programme to bring relief to citizens who would have lost their jobs following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, speaking on a radio programme last night, said that the programme would assist “many of our citizens and residents who would have lost their jobs after the hurricane.

“So far we have placed 244 people under the special employment programme (and) are now receiving a salary paid for by the government of Dominica and very soon we will place another batch of people who have applied,” he told radio listeners,

The category five storm slammed into Dominica on September 18 causing widespread destruction estimated at millions of dollars and is blamed for at least 30 deaths.

Skerrit said more than EC$60 million had been approved for home repairs.

“That’s is just to fix homes and that is outside the procurement of building materials…from local establishments.

“We have procured significant sums from local establishments to help with the roofing, windows and doors for some people. That is not World Bank money, it is not nobody else’s money. We are committed to providing more because not everybody we have touched so far.

‘We have been doing this in tranches. Every 10 homes that are covered are 10 less people who will be exposed to the elements and this how we must measure the progress,” Skerrit added.

He said that contracts have also been signed for the construction of more than 500 new housing units in several communities and that 200 houses are scheduled to be constructed in the capital.