USAID Commits $10M for Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean
During a visit to Barbados this week, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Mark Green announced that his agency has committed an additional $10 million to help Caribbean countries to prepare for natural disasters. With these funds, USAID will work with community organizations, governments, regional institutions and the private sector to strengthen preparedness for hurricanes, earthquakes, and other calamities.
"We have seen painfully how extreme weather events in the Caribbean are increasing in intensity and frequency. In 2017, it was Hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated the region. And earlier this year, as we just heard reference to, it was Hurricane Dorian that struck the Bahamas," said Green. "In total, we contributed more than $9.7 million toward the Hurricane Irma and Maria responses, and more than $25.5 million toward the Hurricane Dorian response . . . But we also believe that the truest sense of compassion comes with helping others to help themselves. And so we're equally committed to working with our friends and partners to build resilience against hurricanes and other natural disasters."
The new funding comes in addition to the $2 million USAID contributed earlier this year to the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in Barbados, a part of the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO), to strengthen systems for weather research and forecasting. Earlier this year, USAID also launched its new Caribbean Energy Initiative, a five-year effort with an initial investment of $5 million that will help reduce electricity prices, increase the quality of service and enhance the ability of electrical grids in the region to withstand shocks.
USAID also recently announced a $25 million loan guarantee with the National Commercial Bank of Jamaica (NCB) to increase lending for small-scale investments in renewable energy, power generation and economic development. The guarantee will enable NCB to expand its lending throughout the region, including in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.