By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
AS government assessments continue in the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Caribbean Development Bank yesterday announced that just under $1m will be accessible through emergency relief grants and loans.
The funding support was extended to borrowing member countries (BMCs) affected by Hurricane Irma, and for regional coordinator, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
In anticipation of Hurricane Irma’s track through the region, the bank approved a fast-tracked grant of USD$150,000 to CDEMA to assist with preparations for mobilising and coordinating disaster relief, according to a press release yesterday.
The emergency relief grants are valued at USD$200,000, and will be available for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Immediate response loans will be offered up to USD$750,000 to the affected countries.
“The grants will assist with costs associated with damage assessments and the provision and transportation of emergency relief supplies, water and sanitation resources, roofing materials for emergency shelters and community buildings, and temporary shelter for displaced persons,” said a press statement yesterday.
“The loans, available on highly concessionary terms, are designed to support the clearing and cleaning of areas damaged by Hurricane Irma, and the emergency restoration of services.”
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest said it was too early to say whether the government will be seeking relief as assessments are in the early stages.
Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis indicated that the government had renewed the country’s policy with the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) - a reversal of the former administration’s decision to drop the policy in place of a national disaster fund.
Dr Minnis told Parliament earlier this year that the former administration’s action had resulted in the Bahamas losing out on a $32m insurance payout in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a category three/four storm.
According to the CDB statement, CCRIF announced last week that it will make payouts of USD$15.6m on their tropical cyclone policies to the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, and St Kitts and Nevis as a result of the passage of Hurricane Irma.
Additional payouts are expected in relation to water damage from flooding and storm surges, the statement said.