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UK boosts volcano relief to SVG


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UK boosts volcano relief to SVG
A group of men making their way out of Chateaubelair after returning to salvage any agricultural produce left standing. (Picture by Sandy Pitt/FILE)

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An estimated 13 000 people affected by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent will benefit from close to U.S. $700 000 in relief supplies from the United Kingdom (UK) government.

Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Lord Tariq Ahmad said the UK would give further support to provide food, clean water and other essential items through the World Food Programme.

“We stand united with the people of St Vincent & the Grenadines at this difficult time,” he said. “We have all been tremendously moved by the scenes of devastation and human misery that this volcano has wrought.

“I am pleased that the UK stepped up to provide vital support to the CDEMA regional response within 24 hours of the first eruption. This further support will provide urgent assistance to those most affected by the impact of volcano, including those currently displaced and living in shelters.”

The British High Commission in Barbados said the funding aid would several families in St Vincent meet their immediate nutrition, hygiene and other essential needs for the next three months.

This announcement follows the UK’s earlier commitment of U.S. $278 000 to CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency), which enabled the immediate mobilisation of regional support teams and urgent supplies for the initial relief effort.

Prior to the explosive eruption, the UK also provided U.S. $70 000 for aerial helicopter surveillance and equipment installations to help analyse changes in the volcano and boost early warning for a timely evacuation.

In addition to its bilateral support, the UK is also supporting the international response in St Vincent and the Grenadines through the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund, International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund, World Bank’s International Development Association Facility and Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility.

The UK government said it would continue to make a critical contribution to the country’s longer-term recovery from the eruption.

This includes funding for critical infrastructure projects such as the new cargo port facilities and access roads near the existing Kingstown Harbour, upgrading of health care facilities across the island, supporting the island’s pre-disaster and post-disaster management system and sustainable energy sector and providing training opportunities for the nation’s youth through the Skills for Youth Employment programme. (AR)