Rush for emergency supplies in Bellevue
The rush to secure badly needed emergency relief items has allegedly created bad blood among residents of Bellevue in the Rio Grande Valley of Portland.
There are allegations of corruption on the part of those handling the distribution. On Sunday, THE STAR visited the badly ravaged flood-prone community in search of answers as to whether or not persons from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) and the local Red Cross were disingenuous in handling the distribution. Lilith Linguard, a resident who supervised and assisted the distribution of the items, flatly denied the suggestions.
"The distribution of items on Friday was done in a transparent manner," said Linguard. "The MLSS did its assessment and 57 families were affected. The items that were transported by air were packaged in Port Antonio and all the names were accounted for and the packages handed out. There was no hanky-panky business, and it was only because other persons heard about the goods coming in that they, too, journeyed here, hoping to capitalise on the distribution," she added. Linguard explained that there are two Bellevue communities, Upper and Lower.
"Upper Bellevue has been without piped water and electricity for 12 days now, while no such challenges were faced by residents living at Lower Bellevue," she said. "But having learned that relief supplies were heading to Upper Bellevue, residents from the other side journeyed here to secure whatever items were available. However, the items were already packaged for those families that were affected." She noted that while Upper Bellevue was cut off by multiple land slippage and residents were marooned, no real damage was done by the six days of torrential rainfall to Lower Bellevue.
On Friday, food, water, toiletries, and other emergency supplies were airlifted to residents by a Jamaica Defence Force helicopter.