The UK will give further support to provide food, clean water and other essential items, for an estimated 13,000 people affected by the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The new £550,000 ($695,000 USD) contribution takes the total UK funding to over £800,000 ($1m USD) since the eruption began on April 9 th and will be delivered via the World Food Programme (WFP).
These funds will deliver urgent cash and voucher assistance to help families displaced by the volcano meet their immediate nutrition, hygiene and other essential needs for three months. This announcement follows the UK’s earlier commitment of £200,000 ($278,000 USD) to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) which enabled the immediate mobilisation of regional support teams and urgent supplies for the initial relief effort.
Prior to the explosive eruption, the UK also provided £51,000 ($70,000 USD) for aerial helicopter surveillance and equipment installations to help analyse changes in the volcano and boost early warning for a timely evacuation. Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said:
“We stand united with the people of the St Vincent and Grenadines at this difficult time. We have all been tremendously moved by the scenes of devastation and human misery that this volcano has wrought. I am pleased that the UK stepped up to provide vital support to the CDEMA regional response within 24 hours of the first eruption. This further support will provide urgent assistance to those most affected by the impact of the volcano, including those currently displaced and living in shelters.”
In addition to our bilateral support, the UK is also supporting the international response in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in several important ways. For example:
- The UK is a major donor and longstanding contributor to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which has so far allocated $1m (approximately £719,000) to St Vincent and the Grenadines in response to the eruptions. This will be used for water, sanitation and hygiene, alongside supporting livelihoods.
- The UK is a donor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF), which has allocated funding of some £209,000 ($290,000 USD) to the Red Cross response. This will go towards water and sanitation, livelihoods support and shelter.
- The UK is the largest financial contributor to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) facility. The World Bank recently disbursed $20m (£14m) of IDA funds from its Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) to support the government’s emergency liquidity needs.
- The UK was a founder member of the Caribbean Catastrophic Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF), which has provided a $2.2m (£1.5m) grant for ongoing relief and recovery efforts.Longer-term support for St Vincent and the GrenadinesAlongside this emergency support, the UK has an ongoing programme of development assistance to the St Vincent and Grenadines’ totalling over £40m (approximately US$55.5m). This will make a critical contribution to the country’s longer-term recovery from the eruption and includes:
- Funding for critical infrastructure projects such as the new cargo port facilities and access roads near the existing Kingstown Harbour.
- Upgrading of health care facilities across the island – retrofitted to be safer, greener and better able to withstand the impacts of future disasters.
- Supporting the island’s pre and post-disaster management systems.
- Supporting the sustainable energy sector in St Vincent and the Grenadines through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
- Providing training opportunities for the nation’s youth through our Skills for Youth Employment programme.
The UK also continues to support St Vincent and the Grenadines and the wider Caribbean region in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.