Dr Orande Brewster
July 9, 2021
Committee looks at housing for volcano displaced people

A CABINET APPOINTED committee is looking into temporary and permanent housing for the relocation of persons from the volcano red zone in the wake of the explosive volcanic eruptions of April 2021.

This was disclosed by Dr Orande Brewster, the Minister with responsibility for Housing and Informal Settlement in Parliament this week as he responded to a question posed by Nigel Stephenson, the Parliamentary Representative for South Leeward on the relocation efforts thus far.

Brewster said the Cabinet appointed a Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Technical Committee, which is composed of several key ministries and chaired by the Ministry of Transport and Works.

The committee is tasked with the initial responsibility of the provision of temporary housing for families currently in public shelters.

But the Minister said it will also “employ suitable plans to inform temporary and permanent housing and infrastructural development post volcanic eruption of April 9, 2021”.

“As we are aware, the red zones have still not been given the all clear to return home so that we can do a proper assessment of all the homes and give a proper estimate as to damage sustained,” Brewster said in Parliament on Tuesday. “To date, displaced families currently in public shelters or private home placement have not officially expressed interest in being relocated. Some residents from the red zones have articulated verbally that their preference is for returning to that area in the red zone, even though the all clear has not been given for habitation.”

He added however that preliminary assessments are currently being carried out by the state to determine the various levels of damage ranging from level one to level four.

Level four, being the highest, is categorised to mean that a total relocation from the area where the individual is currently housed, will be necessary.

Brewster said that while some residents have stated an interest in being relocated, no official consultation has been carried out in the red zone regarding any of those requests.

He also said that the Cabinet appointed committee will soon identify suitable plans and areas where some of those who have an interest in relocation can be housed.

“The pending recommendation from the Cabinet committee for temporary and permanent housing will be provided to Cabinet, and as soon as that is done, an update will be given to the Honourable House,” the minister said.

It is likely that this course of action will also be adopted for some persons in the orange zone in cases where homes have been significantly damaged as a result of the volcanic eruption.