Saturday 20 July, 2019

UNDP Caribbean offices join forces help islands affected by Irma

The United National Development Programme (UNDP) offices in the Caribbean have joined forces to develop a regional strategy for the islands affected by Hurricane Irma.

The strategy is expected to include debris and waste removal, immediate short-term employment for those affected and community infrastructure rehabilitation, focusing on Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean countries.

The strategy will be developed and implemented in support of and upon  request from national authorities, coordinated by UNDP in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, which also cover several other island stages.

It also includes temporary training and employment for those affected, aims to quickly inject cash in affected communities, tools, equipment and technical capacity of professionals such as engineers and architects.

Training and support will also be given to community-based micro and small businesses to help resume economic activities.

A dozen UNDP crisis recovery experts have been deployed to the region and are immediately available to provide assistance.

UNDP Jamaica resident representative Bruno Pouezat, said, “whatever challenges lie ahead, the nations of the Caribbean do not stand alone. UNDP continues to monitor all hurricanes systems in the region and is on standby to support the region make full recovery, rebuild more resilient economies and institutions, and fulfill the global pledge to leave no one behind.”

Recovery activities are expected to start immediately in the most affected areas with initiatives showing quick tangible results that can be easily replicated in other areas as needed.

“Based on these initial assessments, we will then support the coordination of relief and reconstruction and the mobilization of international resources for the recovery period,” Pouezat added.

UNDP is to establish a technical team to provide direct support to country offices and affected countries. Implementation could start in the next two weeks depending on government engagement, community interest and logistics.

The UNDP has joined forces with sister UN agencies, funds and programmes in deploying first-responder teams. The UNDP office in Jamaica, which also supports Turks and Caicos, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Bermuda, is coordinating first responder teams, which started arriving in Jamaica from Friday to travel to Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas together with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.

The team includes a United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team, to strengthen national capacity to assess damage to infrastructure including water and sanitation and coordinate relief efforts, as well as a UNDP disaster reduction specialist.

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