By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- Preliminary estimates put the damage to Jamaica from the passage of Hurricane Sandy at over $5 billion (US$55 million), with agriculture being the worst affected sector.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, in a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said that damage to agriculture is estimated at $1.5 billion.
There were significant losses to banana, plantain, cocoa, coffee, coconut, cash crops, vegetables and livestock.
The prime minister also stated that approximately 61 schools were affected, with extensive damage to the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland.
"Assessments, so far, total $170 million. We have to bear in mind some those figures could change because these are preliminary. We thank the government of Japan for generously offering to assist with repairs to CASE (and) other education facilities,” she said.
The Japanese government has also offered to help with repairs to the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary, which sustained severe roof damage, the prime minister said.
Several public health facilities were affected during the passage of the hurricane, and early estimates are that the repairs will cost $160 million.
The prime minister said that all of the public hospitals are now delivering full services with the exception of the Annotto Bay.
“Funds are being allocated by the National Health Fund (NHF) to address immediate repairs and needs,” she said.
Eleven state facilities, including children’s homes and places of safety suffered damage estimated at $9.25 million. The tourism and hotel sector was not badly affected; however, Portland and Ocho Rios suffered most of the damage and repairs are already underway.
In terms of damage to housing and personal effects, 945 verified assessments have already been completed in St Mary, St Thomas and Portland, which were the hardest hit parishes. So far, 71 houses have been identified as being totally destroyed, 348 homes were severely damaged, and 526 had minor damage.
There was also approximately $31 million worth of damage to roofs, the jetty at the Discovery Bay installation and other Jamaica Defence Force facilities. Damage to buildings, vehicles and communication systems of the Jamaica Constabulary Force totals $6.3 million.
The Department of Correctional Services has also reported damage of about $5.1 million, which includes roof damage at Fort Augusta and fencing at the Hill Top Juvenile Centre.
Meanwhile, Simpson Miller noted that the government also has a repair bill for earlier rains over the period September 28 to October 2.
“The estimate of the damage done to roads and other infrastructure by those rains is just under $1.1 billion. Of that, $300 million has either been spent or will be spent on temporary restoration works and $770 million is needed for permanent restoration works,” she said.
The prime minister added that the preliminary estimate of damage to parish council roads was now at $1.5 billion, but stood to rise further as "we have not received full reports."
"$700 million is needed for temporary restoration works and just under $800 million for permanent restoration works. All in all, we are talking about, as a preliminary estimate, a total amount of just under $2.6 billion,” Simpson Miller said.
The prime minister also stated that the collection of hurricane related debris is underway in all parishes with priority being given to main roads.
An additional tranche of $15 million has been disbursed to the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the CHASE Fund will also be providing funds to assist the NSWMA in the clean-up exercise.