PRESS RELEASE – The European Union has agreed to allocate approximately EC$45.5 million (12.675 million euro) in grants for St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia after the two Caribbean countries were affected by a devastating weather system in December 2013.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines which suffered the heaviest damage is earmarked to receive EC$23.5 million (6.5 million euro) and St. Lucia EC$22.4 million (6.17 million euro).
This long-term reconstruction support will be in addition to the EC$1.4 million (400,000 euro) of emergency humanitarian assistance provided by the European Union to the affected populations in the two countries immediately after the storm.
The floods which accompanied the severe weather system created flash flooding and resulted in the deaths of more than 15 people. It also significantly impacted infrastructures in both countries with substantial damages to roads and bridges, with impact concentrated in areas with the highest levels of poverty.
The funds will be dedicated to the reconstruction of some key infrastructure damaged by the floods such as bridges and roads, and to build resilience by improving river protection and slope stabilisation in major areas of the countries. The Chateaubelair Jetty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Piaye Bridge in St. Lucia which were extensively damaged during the storm are infrastructure that could potentially benefit from the EU intervention.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Ambassador Mikael Barfod commented: “This support demonstrates the EU’s commitment to the reconstruction of both countries and further highlights Europe’s solidarity with the Caribbean, which we recognise as one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.
“We look forward to the conducting of assessments and reviews in the hope that the countries will learn from the experience and also share lessons learned with regional counterparts.”
The European Union is also providing 20 million euro to support the regional disaster management programme of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency as it undertakes disaster risk reduction measures in the region.