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