SINGAPORE - A multi-agency effort to help the 51 stallholders affected by the blaze that struck Jurong West Street 41 on Tuesday (Oct 11), is under way.
Jurong GRC MP Mr Ang Wei Neng met up with the stallholders on Thursday night (Oct 13) at Jurong Green Community Club, together with representatives from the Housing Board (HDB), National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
On Tuesday (Oct 11), a fire engulfed a wet market and two coffee shops in Jurong West Street 41, affecting Block 493 and part of Block 494. Many stallholders had been uncertain about their next steps, with the amount they lost in earnings ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars a day.
HDB and NEA have provided the affected stallholders with a list of 27 market stalls and 22 food stalls that are immediately available, where they can run their businesses.
Interested stallholders will be assisted by HDB and NEA to relocate to the new stalls, some of which are in the vicinity. "Business is expected to resume within a month," HDB said.
To help the stallholders retain regular customers, Jurong-Clementi Town Council will put up signboards to inform residents and regular patrons about the temporary locations of the stalls.
During the period when the wet market is unable to operate, HDB will waive the rental cost for the operator. Jurong-Clementi Town Council will likewise waive service and conservancy charges, on the condition that the stallholders are, in turn, not charged. For the two coffee shops, which are sold premises, HDB and NEA will work with the owners to see how best they can be assisted.
Immediate relief funds will be disbursed by the Southwest Community Development Council, to help those in hardship tide over this period. Grassroots leaders and officers from MSF's Social Service Office at Taman Jurong, are also in touch with the stallholders to render assistance to them.
HDB and NEA are also studying the feasibility of building a temporary market, or whether it should channel resources to rebuild the market instead.
SCDF has completed its fire operations and on-site fire investigations as of 12pm on Thursday (Oct 13). HDB's appointed professional engineer is also assessing the site. Once HDB is allowed to enter the site, arrangements will be made for stallholders to retrieve their items.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Ang said a new market may take a year or more to build. The immediate priority is to find alternative stalls at other markets, so the stallholders can resume their businesses as soon as possible.
"We have decided to provide an emergency relief fund of $500 to each of the stallholders tonight (Thursday)," he added.