The devastating 2017 Atlantic hurricane season caused extensive damage to several Caribbean islands. These Category 5 hurricanes have reminded the world that these small island states are on the front line of climate change.
Caribbean countries are now seeking assistance from the international community for their immediate reconstruction and for their climate adaptation needs.
At the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-UN High Level Pledging Conference in New York this week, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, announced Canada’s pledge of $100 million to support reconstruction and climate resilience efforts in the Caribbean region over the next five years.
Canada’s contribution will help the most vulnerable people, including women and children, to rebuild more resilient communities so they can be better prepared for natural disasters. Particular attention will be given in the coming months to specific projects aimed at reconstructing essential services, improving disaster risk management and emergency preparedness practices, supporting the role of women as leaders in reconstruction and adopting climate-adaptation measures at the community level.
Canada is working together with international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, to mobilize support for reconstruction efforts. Canada represents many Caribbean nations on the Board of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. At the World Bank Annual Meetings in October, Canada and participants reaffirmed their solidarity and support for the affected countries and communities.
“Canada is proud to stand in solidarity with its Caribbean friends that were impacted by the devastating 2017 hurricanes. We have listened to the region on its needs and understand that reconstruction and longer-term climate resilience go hand in hand. Canada will help the Caribbean rebuild better and stronger for the future,” said Caesar-Chavannes.
· An estimated 20,000 children have been affected by the 2017 Caribbean hurricanes. More than 32,000 people have been displaced, with 17,000 of these people in need of shelter.
· Over 1.2 million people have been affected by damage to water infrastructure. Other critical infrastructure has been significantly damaged, including electrical lines, houses and public buildings, such as government offices, schools and hospitals, as well as private-sector structures key to the economy and people’s livelihoods.
· Prior to today’s pledge, Canada provided more than $2 million to humanitarian organizations for emergency relief. As a major contributor to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Canadian funding also supported the CDB’s emergency relief efforts in the affected countries and territories.
· CARICOM, in partnership with the UN, held this week’s High Level Pledging Conference to rally international support for the reconstruction of the countries affected by the 2017 hurricanes. The conference was preceded by a day of technical consultations on November 20.