The UK continues to provide unwavering support for Caribbean islands recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, by taking forward reconstruction work and helping to bolster resilience across the region.
The latest initiative took the form of an After Action Review workshop, which was hosted by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and funded by DFID Caribbean.
Held under the theme; “Comprehensive after action review for the regional response mechanism in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria”, the workshop brought together regional stakeholders from several spheres of the disaster management sector, to discuss lessons learned, key findings and recommendations ahead of the 2018 transatlantic hurricane season.
During the opening ceremony in Barbados, Head of DFID Caribbean Colleen Wainwright underscored the role CDEMA played in the 2017 response efforts. She stated, “CDEMA’s role was absolutely essential in providing and coordinating relief to affected countries and in acting as a key contact for regional and international partners.”
She went on to highlight the ongoing threat to the Caribbean region and said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the threat from natural disasters is the greatest development challenge facing the Caribbean region. “
She made it clear that the workshop was very helpful but more work was needed in trying to tackle that threat. “It is essential that we learn lessons from these kinds of events and take practical steps to strengthen our ability – not only to respond to future disasters – but to try and minimise their impact in the first place. That is why the UK has placed a particular emphasis on supporting disaster resilient infrastructure and that is also why we are ready to help champion the principle of Building Back Better.”
Mrs Wainwright also affirmed that having pledged over £185m in UKAid to the hurricane response effort thus far, the UK is delivering on those commitments, with support for the recovery process in hard-hit islands.
“Almost six months after the hurricane, we are still providing assistance to vulnerable communities and individuals, and we will provide £28m for reconstruction of critical public infrastructure on Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda,” she added.
The Head of DFID Caribbean also noted that her team is actively taking forward a support package to strengthen preparedness, early recovery and financial resilience across the region.