St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Prime Ministers of St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica have been outlining the kind of relief assistance they are providing for the islands affected by Hurricane Irma.
Prime Minister Timothy Harris on Monday (September 11) mentioned a number of areas under consideration.
“So for example our Defence Force was instrumental yesterday in getting water from the Bottling Company down to the docks, unloaded onto the docks, and out to Saba where there was a very low supply of that critical resource. As we speak we are attempting to mobilize our Coast Guard that is being sheltered in St Lucia to move up to Antigua taking well needed supplies there to Antigua and then coming home to St Kitts brining some supplies that would be helpful for us in our efforts to restore the electricity and deal with some of the damages to our water systems so our country then has been in service. We have also made available out hospitals in case there are instances which require treatment and that treatment could not be had say in any of the member states that have been affected by Hurricane Irma. We have likewise said that our airport will be offered as a staging platform for relief efforts to St. Barths, French St. Martin, St Eustatius, Saba and Dutch St. Maarten. So again we have put our own assets to the service of the rest of the suffering islands around us.”
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at a press conference Monday, said Roseau was working on providing bottled and bulk water and security to three of the affected islands.
“There are some barges available, what we need now are the containers to have this water so that on an ongoing basis we will be in a position to supply drinking water to these countries in bulk. Cause the bottled water is fine but in terms for cooking and even for bathing and sanitation and so forth the bulk water is critical and of course these barges can land on a beach and have a forklift lift off the water containers and placed on the beach or a safe area so people can come in there and fill their utensils and so forth to take to their homes.
"So we are looking at this as a matter that is given very serious consideration because that in our mind would help dramatically and tremendously in respect to our assistance to St. Maarten, BVI and Anguilla. In addition to that we are deploying police officers to the BVI and Barbuda, in the BVI there are several prisoners who have escaped from the prisons so that poses a security threat to the island and also in Barbuda of course to avoid people coming in and taking advantage of the situation, we need to ensure that there is proper security. And of course we sent in some personnel to the BVI yesterday and we are prepared to provide additional human resources to these islands based on their requests.”
More international help is also on the way for the affected countries.
The European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, says having already mobilized its emergency response tools, additional EU funding is on its way.
The EU says it has now released an initial amount of humanitarian assistance of 2 million euros for the most affected islands in the Caribbean.
The funds are intended to help support key sectors such as water and sanitation, health, waste management, and logistics.
According to the EU, further funding for reconstruction efforts is available in terms of longer term assistance.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has meanwhile announced support for its Borrowing Member Countries affected by Hurricane Irma.
The Bank says it is in the process of providing Emergency Relief Grants to Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
These Grants, totalling 200,000 US dollars each, will assist with costs associated with damage assessments and the provision and transportation of emergency relief supplies, water and sanitation resources, roofing materials for emergency shelters and community buildings, and temporary shelter for displaced persons.
In addition, CDB has offered Immediate Response Loans of up to 750,000 US dollars to the affected countries.