Bridgetown, Barbados, January 09, 2014 (CDEMA) – In excess of EC$ 3,000,000.00 in donations have been mobilised by the Caribbean Community since a trough system impacted St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica over the Christmas holidays.
Severe rains and high winds during the period December 23rd to December 25th, 2013 triggered flash flooding and landslides in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Dominica, resulting in loss of life and infrastructural damage. Collectively 15 confirmed deaths have been reported (9 in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and 6 in Saint Lucia) and over 33,000 persons affected by the torrential downpour. Preliminary estimates of losses stand at almost EC$200,000,000.
Within recent weeks, CARICOM member countries have rallied around impacted states. These include Barbados and Trinidad, Sub-Regional Focal Points for the Central Sub-Region and the Southern Sub-Region respectively. Under the Regional Response Mechanism of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), four islands states, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, have been identified as Sub-Regional Focal Points for the Caribbean region. Each country assumes responsibility for the coordination of response initiatives, within its target countries, on behalf of CDEMA.
Barbados – which assumes responsibility for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Saint Lucia – responded with its first shipment of 6,000 units of bottled water to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This shipment was delivered via the Barbados Coast Guard Vessel, the HMBS Trident, which remains available to transport additional supplies to affected countries upon request. In addition, the Government of Barbados has also agreed to deploy an Engineering and Technical Support Team to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to provide guidance in their infrastructure rehabilitation and recovery planning. This team will be centrally coordinated through the Association of Professional Engineers in Barbados.
Trinidad and Tobago has already deployed an initial tranche of relief supplies and equipment. Two containers have been delivered to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. This shipment included bedding, clothing, food items, toiletries, first aid kits, water purification tablets, wheel barrows, shovels, sand bags and flood bags. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has also pledged an additional two containers of relief supplies to be delivered to Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the near future. In its capacity as Sub-Regional Focal Point for Guyana, Grenada and Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago has also agreed to transport a shipment of mattresses, foodstuff, water tanks, toiletries and blankets, pledged by Grenada to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has also received monetary contributions in the amount of EC$1,000,000.00 from the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to assist with recovery efforts.
Pledges have also been forth coming from other CARICOM states. The Government of Guyana has agreed to the provision of lumber to assist with rebuilding efforts, as well as a cash donation to the affected states. In a show of solidarity and support, the Government of Suriname has also agreed to provide 10, twenty-foot containers of relief supplies to Dominica. Commitments for donations have also been received from the Government of Jamaica, Focal Point for the North-Western Sub-Region in the CDEMA System.
Assistance from Partnering Agencies
The development partners have continued to lend support to the affected territories. Monetary donations of over EC$148,000 were made by USAID/OFDA to Red Cross Societies in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia. In addition, relief supplies valued at over EC$200,000 were donated to the impacted states by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), to assist with cleanup activities and to address immediate needs.
Technical Support has also been provided by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) which has deployed technical specialist to St Vincent and the Grenadines to assist with the collection of field data and conducting site visits.
Further financial and technical assistance has also been identified through the CARICOM Development Fund Emergency Assistance Facility, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Department for International Development (DFID), the Food and Agricultural Association (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administering the Emergency Response Grant from the Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) and the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR). Discussions are already underway for the affected territories to access the resources from these partners.
CDEMA Coordinating Unit
A Technical Resource Officer from CDEMA CU has been imbedded in the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in St Vincent and the Grenadines for one week to support the Emergency Operations Centre functions. In addition the CDEMA CU continues to work with the impacted states to facilitate the access of grants and other assistance from development partners.