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European Union increases support of hurricane-hit Caribbean

SUPPORT: The EU is helping Caribbean islands to ‘build-back-better’

THE EUROPEAN Union is to increase its support of Caribbean countries affected by hurricanes.

Ministers of foreign affairs from the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) met in Brussels on July 16 and 17.

One of the outcomes of the meeting was a new agreement between the EU and CARICOM countries.

Stefano Manservisi, director-general for international cooperation and development, signed three new agreements with the minister for foreign affairs and CARICOM affairs of Dominica, Francine Baron, with the minister for foreign affairs of Saint Lucia representing CARIFORUM, Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, and with the ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, Karen-Mae Hill, to support post-hurricane recovery and reconstructions efforts.

The financing agreements amount to €30 million.

Last autumn, the Caribbean region was severely affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

In Dominica, the extent of the damage and loss has been valued at 226% of GDP.

The impact of the extreme weather on Barbuda meant that the entire population of the island was evacuated to Antigua.

The programme for Dominica will see the country receive €11 million in support. The money will be used to assist the implementation of the national recovery plan through budget support. A €5 million programme for Antigua and Barbuda will aim to support housing reconstruction for low-income families. CARIFORUM has been allocated €14 million to help the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency (CDEMA) in further enhancing the region's disaster preparedness and response capacity.

The three programmes form part of a more expansive package of €74 million that was introduced this week. A statement from the EU’s International Cooperation and Development department said: “The package will support the Caribbean region to ‘build-back-better’ and promote resilience vis-à-vis future natural hazards.”

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