US$800M for Caribbean disaster recovery

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, February 8, 2018

Caribbean countries that were ravaged late last year by Hurricanes Irma and Maria will over the next five years benefit from a US$800 million funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

This was announced on Wednesday by CDB President Dr. Warren Smith who, during his Annual News Conference in Barbados, said the funding complements the banks’ ongoing work to build resilience in the Caribbean Region.

Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) President Warren Smith.

“Disaster risk management and resilience building took centre-stage again in CDB’s strategic responses to the challenges facing our BMCs,” the Bank president said.

Dr. Smith related that the bank has been drawing on a combination of its own resources as well as funds intermediated through CDB by other development partners to meet the challenge. In 2017, the Bank mobilised concessionary resources from development partners to support more resilient infrastructure projects throughout the Region.

“To incentivise BMCs to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, CDB must be able to also offer grant and other attractively priced financial resources. But the challenges our Region faces are bigger than what CDB can handle on its own,” he said.

The Caribbean Development Bank had also announced a new USD70 million fund, through which the Government of Mexico is providing grants to boost regional infrastructure in the Bank’s BMCs.

“The Caribbean has had a long history of bouncing back from natural disasters and other external shocks. So, in the events of 2017, we see immense opportunity for the BMCs to come back stronger and more resilient.”

A GBP 300 million programme launched two years ago, will be expanded to include an additional GBP 28 million to assist in the recovery efforts in Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, the President said.

He noted that the Caribbean is the second-most vulnerable to climate change in the world but is optimistic that the region has the ability to build back “better and stronger”.

The two category five hurricanes Irma and Maria, hit the region during a two-week period in September of 2017, decimating decades of development gains in Dominica, Barbuda – the sister island of Antigua, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Anguilla.  The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis and Haiti also suffered damage.  Other Caribbean Islands, notably St. Maarten, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were also significantly impacted.

 

By: Alexis Rodney

 

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