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SVG steps up Hurricane Irma relief

SVG steps up Hurricane Irma relief

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The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is playing a leading role in the rehabilitation efforts of the countries affected by Hurricane Irma.

Last week, Irma, a category five hurricane, wreaked havoc on a number of Caribbean countries, including the British Virgin Islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke), Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla and Cuba.

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Saboto Caesar and Minister of Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Information and Labour Camillo Gonsalves are currently on an overseas mission, visiting the affected countries and meeting with Vincentians and other persons who have been affected by the natural disaster.

Speaking on Radio Anguilla yesterday, Minister Caesar assured persons affected that SVG is doing whatever possible to help the affected persons. He said the first boat of supplies will leave St Vincent for the BVI today, Friday, September 15, while the second boat will leave seven days from today for Anguilla.

“On behalf of the Government and people of SVG, we are going to work with our brothers and sisters during the rebuilding process,” said Caesar, who noted that he saw the damage to infrastructure and agricultural stock during a brief fly over of Anguilla.

Yesterday, Caesar held meetings with Vincentians where the issue of the education of their children and other matters were discussed.

The Government has given persons affected by the storm, who have relatives in this country, the option of sending their school aged children to SVG, where they will continue their education while the rebuilding process takes place.

The Minister also said the Government is in the process of interviewing 1,000 skilled men: carpenters, masons, linesmen and electricians, who will be made available to the affected countries.

“The situation is devastating,” said Caesar on radio, noting that in some countries, electricity transmission is down to two per cent.

“We want to note that we are here to assist…we want to be a friend in a time of need,” said Caesar, who is hoping that Vincentians stay in Anguilla to help rebuild the country.

Meanwhile, persons hoping to send supplies to the affected countries may take those supplies to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). NEMO will then take these supplies to the

boat. There will be no charge for the transportation of these supplies to the BVI. All packages must be properly labelled. No meats or live plants will be permitted. 

The construction barge, which is scheduled to leave these shores today, will take over 1,800 tonnes of food, water, building and other materials to the BVI.

On the way, the barge will stop in St Lucia, where persons interested in sending supplies to their families and friends are asked to drop them off at the NEMO headquarters in St Lucia with proper labelling.  

This country has already contributed US$100,000 in cash and over 2,000 pounds of food and water to Caribbean countries affected by Hurricane Irma.

Also, persons with family members in the BVI and other affected islands who are incapacitated in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, who wish to obtain information on possible assistance with returning to SVG, can do so by calling: 1784 434 4955.(LC)