CARICOM CHAIRMAN ASSURES CDEMA’S IMMEDIATE SUPPORT TO VICTIMS OF HURRICANE IRMA

Written by on September 6, 2017

As the Northern Caribbean region continues to grapple with the effects of Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman of the Caribbean Community, Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, has been in constant communication with the CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, and the Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Mr. Ronald Jackson, as they work together to ensure that the needs of the islands in the Hurricane Irma’s path are addressed in a timely, efficient and safe manner.

Stemming from several discussions among the three officials in the last few days, a number of immediate steps have been taken so far by CARICOM through its regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management, CDEMA, to address the needs of the affected Islands.

Among those steps are the following:

  • Rapid Needs Assessment Teams have been organized for ready deployment to Antigua, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. The teams include Water and Sanitation specialists, Communications personnel, Health specialists and Fisheries and Agriculture specialists.
  • CDEMA has at the same time, mobilized personnel and resources to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. This includes the deployment of two specialized teams and the procurement of needed items identified by those Islands, such as Tarpaulins, etc.
  • A number of islands in the Bahamas grouping are being evacuated through a number of flights. Several of those islands had already been affected by previous storms Matthew and Joaquin and are therefore more vulnerable to devastation; as well as being potentially difficult to access in the event of another attack.
  • CDEMA has a support team stationed in Jamaica in order to immediately support the needs of the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Haiti, should those islands be hit by Irma.
  • The Agency has mobilized military personnel for deployment to affected Islands and is in communication with Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad for additional military support and deployment, as necessary, to affected islands.

Prime Minister and Chairman Dr, Keith Mitchell, who lent his voice to a CDEMA Press conference earlier Wednesday, thanks the CDEMA team for being proactive in addressing the needs of affected islands. He also expresses deep appreciation to donor groups and countries for their contributions to CDEMA in meeting the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Among those support groups and countries that are on the ground in Barbados at the CDEMA Headquarters are the United Kingdom, the United Nations, UNICEF and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Executive Director of CDEMA, Mr. Ronald Jackson, assured the CARICOM Chairman that even while CDEMA works to address the needs of those islands affected by Irma, the Agency is also paying keen attention to Hurricane Jose which is expected to be a category 2 Hurricane, following a similar path to Hurricane Irma.

Prime Minister and Chairman Mitchell also spoke with several of his colleague Prime Ministers in CARICOM, and reiterated the solidarity and support of Grenada and the entire CARICOM Community to all those affected by Hurricane Irma.

IMAGES OF IRMA’S DEVASTATION IN THE CARIBBEAN (Courtesy of express.co.uk)

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