THE UNITED STATES has announced additional assistance of 3.8 million US dollars, dedicated to the emergency assistance of individuals following the eruption of La Soufrière volcano.
Most of the funds are given towards the United Nations Global Funding Appeal for the Soufrière Volcano Response, launched on April 20.
The money will be handed to humanitarian partners such as the World Food Programme(WFP), the International Red Cross, the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
The US will work with these partners on the use of the money and maintaining and monitoring the programs.
The announcement with regard to the assistance was made by the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela, at Cabinet room on Friday, May 14.
The support coming through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), “… adds to the United States’ ongoing commitment to help with the assistance (to those affected by the volcano), and it increases our contributions to five million dollars,” the Ambassador said.
Their efforts began when la soufriere was confirmed to be effusively erupting at the end of December 2020, and these included, “bringing seismic equipment and setting up a station and collaborating with the University of the West Indies on tracking what the volcano might be doing.” Their efforts have been ongoing following this.
Taglialatela explained that the funds will be going “to important things such as allowing for access to emergency food, to safe drinking water and to hygiene kits (to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in shelters and communities).”
“…Also it will provide an avenue for which we can better facilitate the movement of supplies, presenting additional support to the infrastructure, and it will also give us the opportunity to help work with St Vincent in this road to recovery.” The Ambassador assured that, “the United States is committed to assisting St Vincent and the Grenadines in this time. We are partners, we are friends, we are close allies, and it is important for us to support St Vincent at this time.”
Further, Taglialatela announced that through the US’ humanitarian assistance program, the United States Southern Command has committed a further four million dollars to St Vincent and the National Emergency Management Organisation(NEMO) “… for training and equipment, the renovation of shelter and warehouse, and the donation of two field hospitals, which will be available in case of further natural disasters..”
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was on hand to respond to the announcement, and he thanked the American Government for their assistance.
From the beginning, he indicated, “We made the point, St Vincent and the Grenadines, our Government that the problem which we have is of such a magnitude that we cannot address the issues by ourselves, that we didn’t have the resource capacity to do it in the most efficacious of ways, and that we relied not only on our own capacity and our own resilience in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and our own plans, and our own institutions; but we needed the assistance of our Caribbean family and also of the global community.”
He added that “Just in excess of three million of the 3.8 million will be going to the United Nations Global Appeal”, thus the overall sum has climbed to over eight million.
“…That sum would be about 30% of the 29.2 million which we are seeking to raise, and after three weeks of that Appeal, that is… in circles which know about these sorts of appeals, I’m told that that is not…bad,” Gonsalves stated.