Japan’s Ambassador on a three day visit to SVG
Tatsuo Hirayama
January 18, 2022
Japan’s Ambassador on a three day visit to SVG

Japan’s Ambassador to St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Tatsuo Hirayama, is on a three-day visit to this country where he will make brief remarks at the start of rehabilitation work on the Lewis Punnett Home, among other engagements.

A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs though the API states that the Ambassador’s delegation will include Sarah Bailey, Head of Programme at the World Food Programme (WFP) Caribbean Multi-Country Office; and Robert Natiello, Regional Co-ordination Officer of the Caribbean and Chief of Mission of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Ambassador Hirayama will meet with Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves today, January 18, and other government officials throughout his visit which ends on Wednesday, January 19.

At 3.00 p.m today, a brief ceremony will take place at the Lewis Punnett Home at Orange Hill to kick start rehabilitation work on the facility that will be retrofitted into a welcoming, safe and eco-friendly home for 40 senior citizens.

The ambassador along with UN partners, and a representative from the Government of SVG will deliver brief remarks at that ceremony and he will also lead his delegation on a visit to Sandy Bay, one of the communities recovering from the eruptions of La Soufrière volcano.

Through partnership with the Government of Japan, WFP, and the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development and Informal Human Settlement, the Soufrière Relief Grant programme was instituted that included the provision of value vouchers which allowed persons to meet food and related needs during the holidays. Depending on family size, 3,000 recipient households received vouchers valued between EC$350.00 to EC $500.00, reaching 18,000 men, women and children who continue to feel the effects of the eruption of April, 2021.

The United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP)has partnered with the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the national response to the volcanic eruptions since April 2021. And, WFP has worked with the National Emergency Management Organisation, the Ministry of National Mobilisation and the Ministry of Education, providing emergency logistics support and technical assistance and resources for cash and voucher assistance to displaced persons from the red and orange zones through the Soufrière Relief Grant.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), through partnership with the Government of Japan, NEMO, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Health is supporting the management of the emergency shelters that are still in use; the repairs of washrooms in 21 schools around the mainland; and retrofitting the Lewis Punnett facility.