U.S. Coast Guard Commander Steve Charnon, Senior Defense Official at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, formally handed over US$104,000 of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Regional Security System during a ceremony on Monday afternoon at the Regional Security System Air Wing in Barbados.
“Ensuring our partners are well equipped to respond to any disaster that threatens the well-being of their citizens is a top priority for the U.S.,” said Commander Charnon. “This donation will ensure our partners are able to continue their fight against COVID-19, while also being prepared for any disasters on the horizon.”
The PPE, acquired through the U.S. military’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), is being transported from the Regional Security System’s headquarters to the national disaster relief agencies of Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia. Thanks to assistance from CDEMA’s Regional Coordination Center and Regional Response Mechanism, supplies and vendors were identified within the Caribbean Basin and purchased using U.S. government funding. HAP funding also supported the procurement of PPE locally in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda.
“The unprecedented nature of this pandemic requires collaborative efforts between our region and its partners to respond effectively to the needs of our participating states,” said Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director (ag) of CDEMA. “This donation is an example of partnerships in action.”
The supplies include 1,000 surgical masks, 500 face shields, 250 protective goggles, 1,200 latex gloves, 1,000 shoe covers, 4 swabs, and 87 hazmat suits. These will be packaged for each country and issued to the National Disaster Offices targeting those that are on the front line and highly exposed to possible COVID-19 transmission.
The PPE delivery is part of nearly US$3 million in COVID-19 response assistance to the Eastern Caribbean from the U.S. Government. It supports the U.S.-Caribbean Resilience Partnership, a collaborative effort to build regional capacity to confront disaster response and promote strong communities.