Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves told a Press Conference in Kingstown yesterday that as of June 13, 61 shelters with 2,169 residents were still active in SVG. At one time, 7,000 people were housed in 88 shelters.
According to Gonsalves, these shelters are currently in the process of being consolidated, but there are still challenges to overcome.
There are some people who refuse to take a COVID -19 test to be moved to another emergency shelter so the numbers can be consolidated to reduce the number of buildings used.
He noted that some people who have been in the shelters for two months and are anxious to return to their homes Red Zone. There are also several persons who have alternated between their homes and the emergency shelters in certain areas of Orange Zone.
In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the La Soufriere volcano erupted on April 9, forcing many families to move into public shelters or private homes.
To make it clear that the government is not trying to chase anyone away, Prime Minister reminds us that schools are in dire need of repair and many are being used as emergency shelters.
With COVID -19 already having a negative impact on the education system and the volcanic eruption making the situation worse, Gonsalves fears that SVG will not see the real consequences for another 10 years.
He believes that children will continue to suffer due to the ongoing disruptions in education.
“We need to get the schools back up and running soon,” Gonsalves says.
He believes the kids (11 plus) who will be doing the CPEA will run into problems in 29 years.
“If they do not have skills, they are not going to properly survive in 2050,” says Gonsalves. To develop skills later in life, these children must have a solid basic education or their lot will be low income, normlessness and problems with life.
He says this is the reason why steps are being taken to merge the homes.
“Nobody is putting you out or chasing you out.”
In addition, the Prime Minister says since the La Soufriere outbreak, about EC$1.4 million has been disbursed to displaced families who are housed in private homes.
He says this money went to 2,077 households and the payment ranged from $300 to $800 depending on the size of the family.