UN allocates US$1 million to support immediate relief in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
As the United Nations, Barbados, and the Eastern Caribbean continues to upscale humanitarian support for the Government and People of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in response to ongoing eruptions and ashfall from the La Soufrière Volcano, funding of US$1M has been allocated to relief efforts through the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Approval has been confirmed for the funding to be directed towards meeting the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, including the more than 4,000 displaced persons now seeking refuge in Government shelters or private homes.
In welcoming the CERF allocation, UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq, reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting Saint Vincent and the Grenadines over the long term, working in partnership and through CDEMA’s regional coordination mechanism.
He explained that the support will be channeled in two directions – the first being provision of immediate cash or value voucher assistance to facilitate access to food, and necessities, of an estimated 3,500 – 4,500 evacuees in homes and shelters. It will target food insecure and vulnerable persons, including those living in poverty, farmers and fisherfolk, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. This component will be led by the World Food Programme (WFP) and complement the government’s ongoing relief efforts.
The second component will address water supply and hygiene (WASH) /Health support, to be facilitated by UNICEF with technical assistance from PAHO. Emphasis will be placed on testing and treatment of the water supply and storage systems for distribution. Some support will also be extended to environmental cleaning services in shelters and host homes in the green and yellow zones.
“We are dealing with a crisis within the COVID crisis. This is one that will certainly last more than six months in Saint Vincent and other affected islands, and we are committed to providing urgent relief to those that are most in need, including evacuees. That is why I call on the international community to extend support,” Mr. Trebucq said, while revealing plans for the launch of a significant UN Funding Appeal and Response to cover the immediate humanitarian and recovery needs in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and affected neighbouring countries.
From the onset of the crisis, the UN Sub-regional team for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean has mobilized with WFP being one of the first agencies on the ground, lending to the logistical support, including transportation, tracking, and distribution of relief items, and supporting registration of non-shelter evacuees. Several experts, including environmental, logistics, public health, and WASH specialists, are also in place, with others en route or preparing for deployment, to support national authorities in the major response effort.
“We are currently assessing the needs in detail, with several members of our Sub-regional team on the ground. WFP, WHO/PAHO, FAO UNICEF supporting with water, health and agriculture and we will scale up based on the request we receive from the government,” Mr. Trebucq added.
In collaboration with other international development partners, the UN has supported the provision of PPEs, PCR kits, and other medical supplies, and tons of WASH supplies dignity kits and GBV services. Technical assistance has also been geared toward logistics and transportation and conducting vital needs assessments in water, health, and agriculture to ensure a longer-term strategic response. Additionally, a team of experts mobilized through UNEP, in collaboration with OCHA and the EU, is supporting immediate clean-up. In this regard, the UN Head emphasized the need to build resilience and help Saint Vincent and the Grenadines build back better while addressing urgent needs.