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Canada pledges CDN$100 million for reconstruction, climate resilience in Caribbean

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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NEW YORK, United States — The devastating Caribbean countries are now seeking assistance from the international community for their immediate reconstruction and for their climate adaptation needs.

At the recent Caribbean Community (Caricom)-UN High Level Pledging Conference in New York, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Development, announced Canada's pledge of CDN$100 million to support reconstruction and climate resilience efforts in the Caribbean region over the next five years.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season and the category five storms it churned caused extensive damage to several Caribbean islands, reminding the world, Canada says, “that these small island states are on the front line of climate change”.

“Canada is proud to stand in solidarity with its Caribbean friends that were impacted by the devastating 2017 hurricanes. We have listened to the region on its needs and understand that reconstruction and longer-term climate resilience go hand in hand. Canada will help the Caribbean rebuild better and stronger for the future,” Caesar-Chavannes said.

The Canadian Government said its contribution will help the most vulnerable people, including women and children, to rebuild more resilient communities so they can be better prepared for natural disasters. Particular attention, it added, will be given to specific projects aimed at reconstructing essential services, improving disaster risk management and emergency preparedness practices, supporting the role of women as leaders in reconstruction and adopting climate-adaptation measures at the community level.

Prior to the 100-m pledge, Canada provided more than CDN$2 million to humanitarian organisations for emergency relief. As a major contributor to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Canada also supported the CDB's emergency relief efforts in the affected countries and territories. Canada said its support to the region also comes via international financial institutions such as the World Bank.

“Canada represents many Caribbean nations on the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. At the World Bank annual meetings in October, Canada and participants reaffirmed their solidarity and support for the affected countries and communities,” the government said.

An estimated 20,000 children have been affected by the 2017 Caribbean hurricanes – Irma and Maria, both category five. More than 32,000 people have been displaced, with 17,000 of them in need of shelter.

Over 1.2 million people have been affected by damage to water infrastructure.

Other critical infrastructure has been significantly damaged, including electrical lines, houses and public buildings, such as government offices, schools and hospitals, as well as private-sector structures key to the livelihoods of the people and the economy.

The High-Level Pledging Conference convened on November 21.


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