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UN launches $29 million appeal for SVG and neighbours

UN launches $29 million appeal for SVG and neighbours

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The United Nations is today, April 20 launching a $29.2 million global funding appeal to help those affected by the eruptions of La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other impacted countries.

The eruptions of the Soufrière volcano which began on 9 April is expected to displace close to 20,000 persons with over 12,700 evacuees now registered in public shelters and in private homes. Entire villages have been covered in ashes, buildings damaged , schools and businesses closed , crops and livestock destroyed, and residents left with limited access to clean drinking water. Further eruptions are expected in the coming weeks.

Funding raised through the UN Global Funding Appeal for the La Soufrière Volcano Response Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Affected Countries ,will provide immediate lifesaving humanitarian aid including cash assistance and clean water, and support a sustainable recovery, including through repairs to homes and support for livelihoods. The UN and partners will also assess the economic, social, and environmental impact on countries affected by the volcano, supporting with ash removal and improving environmental health conditions. Another priority is to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19 as part of the shelter management work and all humanitarian and recovery efforts.

A call to action has been made for international solidarity for the effort which provide a lifeline to the most vulnerable people in St Vincent, as well as assist neighbouring countries including Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Lucia some of whom have been adversely impacted by severe ashfall and all of whom have offered to shelter evacuees.

Speaking following a visit earlier this week to areas in the Red Zone accompanied by members of the UN Sub-regional team and led by Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, UN Resident Coordinator Didier Trebucq said: “the level of destruction that has befallen this beautiful country and the widespread disruption caused by this event, will forever be etched in my mind. The devastating impact of this event on thousands of people is undeniable. The UN will be a steadfast partner, working with the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure strong and resilient recovery. This Global Fund appeal will mobilize international solidarity to enhance our efforts. ”

Prime Minister Gonsalves expressed appreciation at the level of support being extended in the wake of the volcanic eruption.

“The United Nations and its agencies have come splendidly to the assistance of St. Vincent and the Grenadines at this the midnight hour of our need. Their interface with the national authorities and regional organisations such as CDEMA has been exemplary,” he said.

The appeal will be launched by the UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, on Tuesday 20 April, 0930 ET, alongside Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Regis Chapman, Head of Caribbean Sub-regional Office for WFP and Aloys Kamuragiye, Representative of UNICEF Barbados and Eastern Caribbean. It will be supported by other UN agencies participating by distance – UN Women, UNFPA, PAHO, IOM, UNESCO, UNDP, FAO, UNOPS , UNEP,OCHR.

Director General of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States , Dr. Didacus Jules, as well as Executive Director of Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency(CDEMA) , Elizabeth Riley, will also join the launch in support of the appeal.

This is being followed by a virtual press encounter at 1100 ET, with the Resident Coordinator and Prime Minister Gonsalves, moderated by the Secretary-General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric (live on webtv. In response to the ongoing eruption, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock announced an allocation of $1 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund to help provide urgent humanitarian assistance to affected people, especially those evacuated.

This crisis comes as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is recovering from its largest COVID-19 surge amid the pandemic, the region’s worst Dengue outbreak in recent history, and ahead of the hurricane season.