Wednesday, 9 April 2014

European Union actively collaborating with region

TWENTY million euros have been made available to the region to mitigate the impact of disasters. With an additional 350 million euros being negotiated for future developments.

As a partner to the Caribbean, “the European Union (EU) is unmatched”.

This is according to the Director General of the Caribbean Forum of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM), Percival Marie, who said that this step is one more physical demonstration of the EU “putting its money, where its mouth is”.

Delivering remarks on Monday at the EU Delegation Office, Ambassador, EU Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Mikael Barford said, “There was a time in Barbados when talk about earthquakes seemed quite fanciful. Then in November 2007, for the first time in a generation, there was an earth tremor that surprised many. This was followed by two minor tremors in December last year and on February 18 this year.”

Against this background and further evidence of devastation documented in Montserrat due to volcanic activity, in addition to the most recent damage by heavy rains, flooding and landslides in St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Dominica, Barford posited that the funds will be most useful.

He said that the aforementioned events, “make the European contribution of 20 million Euros, with respect to the CARIFORUM Natural Disaster Risk Management Programme, meaningful”.

The sum, which equates to BDS$55 million or EC$75 million, is to be used “to reduce and or prevent the loss of life from that flash flooding, that volcanic eruption, the passage of annual hurricanes and other natural disasters”.

Additionally, Barford stated that the new EU intervention “will support the implementation of the recently adopted Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy for the Caribbean, as well as the operation of CDEMA’s co-ordinating unit.

“It will strengthen the capacity of National Disaster Offices; it will enhance national, local and regional resilience through early warning, national risk profiling and community-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. In addition, the transport and water sectors are also expected to be bolstered.”

This latest initiative complements previous and current EU disaster related support in the region, where, since 1994, the EU “has provided no less than 147 Million Euros in humanitarian aid to the Caribbean – excluding Haiti, and of that amount, 118 million euros were allocated to emergency response and 29 million Euros for activities to help communities to prepare and respond to national disasters.” (KG)

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