The Euro­pean Union pro­vides sup­port for the Caribbean to cope with drought

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

The im­pact of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters is in­creas­ing, de­spite coun­tries’ ef­forts to re­duce it. Over the past year, drought has af­fected more than 6.2 mil­lion peo­ple in the Caribbean, es­pe­cially in Haiti, the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and Cuba.

Ir­reg­u­lar and in­suf­fi­cient rain­fall through­out 2015 has caused loss of crop and live­stock in the re­gion. For the third con­sec­u­tive year, some peo­ple are facing pe­ri­ods of drought that threaten their liveli­hood, with the most vul­ner­a­ble groups be­ing small pro­duc­ers, day-labour­ers and peo­ple with no land of their own.

In this con­text, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Hu­man­i­tar­ian Aid and Civil Pro­tec­tion depart­ment (ECHO) is con­tribut­ing 13.9 mil­lion eu­ros to help the Caribbean cope with drought in 2016, fa­cil­i­tat­ing ac­cess to food and wa­ter, and pro­tect­ing the liveli­hoods of more than 429,000 peo­ple. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has al­lo­cated 12.2 mil­lion eu­ros of this con­tri­bu­tion to Haiti, 1.1 mil­lion eu­ros to the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and 600,000 eu­ros to Cuba.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion con­tin­ues its com­mit­ment to Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion, help­ing the Caribbean pre­pare to cope with fu­ture droughts by con­tribut­ing 2.8 mil­lion eu­ros in 2016: 1.5 mil­lion for Haiti, 700,000 for the Do­mini­can Repub­lic and 600,000 for Cuba. These ac­tions will fa­cil­i­tate the shar­ing of good prac­tice in the cur­rent re­sponse im­ple­mented at lo­cal level, which can then be repli­cated in the fu­ture. It is an­tic­i­pated that around 200,000 peo­ple in the re­gion will be helped dur­ing 2016-2017.

These con­tri­bu­tions are in ad­di­tion to the more than 9.3 mil­lion eu­ros that the Com­mis­sion pro­vided for the re­gion for Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness dur­ing 2015-2016 through its DIPECHO pro­gramme (Dis­as­ter Pre­pared­ness, ECHO), with the fo­cus on strength­en­ing lo­cal abil­ity to cope with fu­ture dis­as­ters. The key ar­eas of in­ter­ven­tion for this pro­gramme, which ben­e­fits 410,000 peo­ple in 12 Caribbean coun­tries, in­clude the strength­en­ing of early warn­ing sys­tems, earth­quake risk pre­pared­ness and in­for­ma­tion con­cern­ing good prac­tice in Dis­as­ter Risk Re­duc­tion.

Since 1994 the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has pro­vided the Caribbean with a to­tal of 509.7 mil­lion eu­ros in fi­nan­cial aid. Of this amount, 353.7 mil­lion eu­ros have been al­lo­cated to Haiti, mainly in re­sponse to the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake of 12 Jan­uary, 2010, the fight against the cholera epi­demic, food in­se­cu­rity and dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness. The re­main­ing 156 mil­lion eu­ros have pro­vided sup­port to the rest of the Caribbean in its re­sponse to emer­gen­cies and ac­tiv­i­ties aimed at dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness.

Two Caribbean coun­tries have walked away with top awards at the Chelsea Flower Show in Lon­don. Grenada and Bar­ba­dos took home gold af­ter im­press­ing judges with their ex­hibits.

The dis­play ‘This Place Bar­ba­dos’ high­lighted the coun­try’s land­scape by il­lus­trat­ing each par­ish through an ar­range­ment of flow­ers and shrub­bery.

The Bar­ba­dos As­so­ci­a­tion of Flower Ar­rangers also won sil­ver in the Sculp­ture in the Gar­den divi­sion with the dis­play, ‘Un­der the Waves’.

This was the third straight win for Bar­ba­dos and brings their medal haul over the 28 years of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the event to 18 golds, nine sil­vergilt and one sil­ver.

The other re­gional ex­hibit, ‘Three En­chant­ing Is­lands – Pure Grenada’ brought the tri-is­land state of Grenada, Car­ri­a­cou and Pe­tite Mar­tinique to life with a dis­play of floral di­ver­sity with show­cased green­ery and spices all grown in Grenada.

“Our theme this year was in­spired by the dis­tinct floral char­ac­ter of the three is­lands which, al­though in close prox­im­ity to each other in the South­ern Caribbean Sea, do not re­ceive the same amount of rain­fall. The veg­e­ta­tion and crops grown on Car­ri­a­cou and Pe­tite Mar­tinique are markedly dif­fer­ent from those that thrive in Grenada,” said Gre­na­di­an­based de­signer Catherine John who led the show team, adding, “As small is­lands we are mind­ful of ris­ing sea lev­els due to cli­mate change, and our dis­play fea­tures the coast­line as a re­minder of the bal­ance of na­ture that we all de­pend upon.”

The gold medal was the 12th cap­tured by the coun­try at the flower show.

Grenada on show in Lon­don.

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