Canada Pledges CAD$440,000 In Immediate Aid To Saint Vincent
(By Ernesto Cooke) – Canada’s High Commissioner Designate to St Vincent and the Grenadines, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee, has praised the leadership of the islands Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves as the eruption of La Soufriere continues.
“You suffered economic hardship because of COVID and now La Soufriere, and am so impressed especially with your leadership Prime Minister; you are showing wonderful leadership in addressing the concerns of your people”, Her Excellency stated.
The High Commissioner-designate said Vincentians are resilient people, remaining strong in the face of two crises, COVID-19 and La Soufriere eruption.
Speaking on state radio on Tuesday 27th April, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee said she has been following the events in St Vincent, and her government would respond shortly.
In the immediate, Canada has donated CAD$440,000 in humanitarian aid, which will go towards the basic needs of those displaced.
The emergency relief funding will focus on the basic needs of displaced persons, including those in shelters, with a contribution of $50,000 to support the work of Rapid Relief Team SVG and the health needs of displaced women and children through a contribution of $50,000 to the World Pediatric Project Caribbean.
Canada has provided $90,000 to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross via the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support shelters for evacuees and to provide relief supplies and first aid services.
Her Excellency said Canada has supported the Southern Caribbean island for a long time and highlighted the Richmond Vale Academy.
“ I did a virtual tour of their project; they were producing home gardens in the North-Western communities showing villagers how to be self-sustainable, and when I see the videos, am so broken-hearted by the devastation”, Chatterjee said.
Canada has also mobilized a $250,000 contribution to the World Food Program (WFP) following the UN Flash Appeal for assistance to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
This funding will allow WFP to scale up its life-saving operations for the next three months to provide food security, logistics, and emergency telecommunications.
Since the eruption of the volcano at La Soufrière began on April 9, over 13,000 persons (more than 10 percent of the population) have been displaced from their homes into shelters and other forms of temporary housing.
The volcano remains in an eruptive state, and the local situation is further compounded by the continued COVID-19 pandemic.