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PM to get report on T&T citizens affected by Sandy
T&T citizens in the United States are being assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine their immediate needs after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast of the country on Monday. After the data has been compiled, a case will be presented to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, said Dr Neil Parsan, ambassador to the US, Mexico and the OAS, in a telephone interview yesterday.
He said he was heartened the PM already had indicated her government’s willingness to help. However, the T&T envoy said he wanted firstly to present the facts to Persad-Bissessar who would then make the necessary decisions.
He added: “At the moment there are millions without electricity, thousands whose homes have been flooded and thousands more in desperate need and we have to go through all these cases where Trinidadians have been affected to determine priority.
“So it’s a process and it’s going to take some time but we have already started that process.” He hoped to have a preliminary report by tomorrow. Parsan said he received about 50 calls on Tuesday from citizens living in the US and those in T&T asking for assistance to find their relatives. Yesterday that figure rose to 75, he added.
The US Government has also set up a disaster assistance fund from which people can get help. Parsan urged T&T citizens in the US to apply to the fund. On the number of citizens who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy, Parsan said that figure was yet to be finalised.
He said: “We have not received information from either the Department of Health or the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which have been working on figures. “Unless we get a feedback, only then we can give a definite answer but in the meantime we continue to network with various organisations to which Trinidadians belong in the US.”
Describing the situation, especially in New York, as “emotionally distressful,” Parsan said more people were out on the streets yesterday, some still trying to get to their homes, while others were counting their losses. He said: “Things are settling more efficiently. There are a lot more people up and about. Up to 25 per cent of cell towers are still down so reception is scratchy.
“Many have still not been able to access e-mail but we have been assisting families when they call in or send text messages to relay information back to their families.” There are still no reports of any T&T citizens in the US who have died or hurt by the hurricane, Parsan said.
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