New Zealand pledges aid to help Caribbean countries affected by hurricanes

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Government of New Zealand will be contributing NZ$250,000 (US$ 183,359) to the immediate relief efforts to help countries in the region that have been affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The funds will be disbursed through the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) to support governments in early recovery activities such as debris management and the rehabilitation of basic services such as water and electricity.

“New Zealand and the Caribbean have longstanding links which have been deepened by the opening four mission in the region in 2014. I have spent time in both Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, getting to know the countries and the people, and it is heartbreaking to see the damage done by Hurricanes Irma and Maria”, said New Zealand High Commissioner Jan Henderson.

She added that New Zealand remains committed to continuing long term support in the agriculture sector in Antigua and Barbuda, and to the geothermal development project in Dominica when recovery efforts move to economic revitalisation.

The New Zealand High Commission serves Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, arrangements are being made to have doctors and nurses from Barbados travel to Dominica to provide much-needed assistance.

According to Dr Brian Charles, the managing director of Sandy Crest Medical Centre, who is in Dominica, there is urgent need for artisans, medical and nursing personnel to provide much needed care for those requiring assistance.

Charles is in Dominica to provide primary assessments for the health care services and the hospital there, and to work alongside the Barbadian military personnel. “The [Princess Margaret] hospital has been badly damaged… it is about 70 per cent destroyed, but it is running somewhat,” Charles said.

He noted that the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department had very limited function, as the institution had no power, water, operating theatre, x-ray or CAT scan departments, laboratories or blood bank.

“Our appeal right now is for assistance to get those up and running soon.”

Charles reported that there were currently five people who need to be medevaced from the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.

“The French authorities have indicated that they will take them to Martinique. There is also one critically ill police officer who sustained major trauma that needs to be airlifted,” he said, while adding the needs of dialysis patients were also a cause for concern.

Dominica remains in a state of emergency after it was devastated by a category five Hurricane Maria last week.

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