CARICOM sec­re­tary gen­eral also sym­pa­thetic

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

CARIBBEAN COM­MU­NITY Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ir­win LaRocque has ex­pressed sym­pa­thy and ex­tended con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of those who lost their lives dur­ing the pas­sage of Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

“I also em­pathise with the thou­sands who have lost their homes and prop­erty on ac­count of the storm,” he said in a state­ment.

LaRocque said CARICOM ex­presses its sol­i­dar­ity with the gov­ern­ments and peo­ple of the many states af­fected by Hur­ri­cane Matthew as it swept through the re­gion.

“The cat­a­strophic storm has af­fected our mem­bers from Bar­ba­dos to St. Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines, Saint Lu­cia and Do­minica to Haiti, Ja­maica, The Ba­hamas, and the Turks and Caicos Is­lands. It has also af­fected Cuba and Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic and left in its wake sig­nif­i­cant loss of life, prop­erty and in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

“To date, Haiti has been the most se­ri­ously af­fected with more than 800 deaths, thou­sands dis­placed and wide­spread flood­ing and dev­as­ta­tion in parts of the coun­try, rais­ing con­cerns about a resur­gence of cholera,” said the sec­re­tary gen­eral.

He said the full scale of fa­tal­i­ties and de­struc­tion has not yet been as­sessed as the iso­la­tion of the most af­fected ar­eas has been ex­ac­er­bated by the dam­age of key road and the com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture, not­ing that “we are also con­cerned about re­ports of ex­ten­sive dam­age in The Ba­hamas”.

LaRocque said the CARICOM re­sponse is be­ing led by the Caribbean Dis­as­ter Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (CDEMA), which has been work­ing with na­tional re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tions to as­sess dam­age, de­ter­mine pri­or­ity needs and pro­vide re­lief.

The sec­re­tary gen­eral has been in dis­cus­sions with the lead­er­ship of the coun­tries af­fected as well with the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of CDEMA as the com­mu­nity faces the se­ri­ous and re­cur­ring chal­lenge.

LaRocque said the pas­sage of Matthew un­der­lines once again the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of Caribbean small is­land de­vel­op­ing and low­ly­ing coastal states to the va­garies of cli­mate ac­tion and the re­ver­sals they bring to sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment ef­forts.

He said the early re­sponse to the af­ter­math of Matthew as well as the sup­port­ive fa­cil­ity put in place to help re­source the re­quired re­cov­ery and re­build­ing ef­fort also un­der­line the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of the re­gional in­sti­tu­tional frame­works es­tab­lished by the com­mu­nity, CDEMA and the Caribbean Catas­tro­phe Risk In­surance Fa­cil­ity (CCRIF) which has al­ready pro­cessed pay­ment to two of the af­fected coun­tries, Bar­ba­dos and Haiti.

“On be­half of the com­mu­nity, I once again ex­tend heart­felt con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies who lost their loved ones and to the gov­ern­ments and peo­ples of the af­fected coun­tries. They can be as­sured that CARICOM is fully en­gaged in as­sist­ing their re­cov­ery and re­build­ing ef­forts,” he said.

FILE

David Laf­fita, 26, con­structs a makeshift clothes line as his wife Ju­lia Elena Aza­hares watches, stand­ing in the ru­ins of their home de­stroyed by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Bara­coa, Cuba, on Fri­day. Matthew hit Cuba’s lightly pop­u­lated east­ern tip on Tues­day night, dam­ag­ing hun­dreds of homes in the east­ern­most city of Bara­coa, but there were no re­ports of deaths. Nearly 380,000 peo­ple were evac­u­ated and mea­sures were taken to pro­tect in­fra­struc­ture.

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