CARICOM rallying to help hurricane victims

GREATER GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Technical assistance, relief supplies and financial resources are being provided by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to the countries affected by the disastrous events of the ongoing Atlantic hurricane season.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) has mobilized its resources and is helping in the assessment of the damage and the provision of relief. A needs list is also being developed to determine further needs of the affected countries.

The 2008 hurricane season has been especially active and destructive. During the period August 15- September 8, 2008 five weather systems were formed in the Atlantic and posed major threats to the Caribbean, with one dissipating before landfall.

Secretary-General of CARICOM His Excellency Edwin Carrington said last Wednesday he was heartened by the response of Member Countries to their neighbours in need of aid and relief following the storms of recent weeks.

Speaking at the end of the Fourteenth Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Barbados on 10 September 2008, at which the leaders discussed the situation and pledged support to those that have been affected, the Secretary-General noted that even countries affected by the storms had willingly come to the assistance of others more seriously distressed. Mr Carrington praised the show of solidarity and said it demonstrated once again the reflexive instinct of oneness, a hallmark of the Community and of the wider region.

Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands have all experienced the ferocity of the hurricanes. Lives have been lost, while homes, infrastructure and agricultural producing areas have been destroyed by wind and floods. The human and economic costs are still being assessed, but will no doubt be tremendous, further burdening the Region’s efforts at development. The human toll has been highest and the needs greatest in Haiti which has been affected by all the major storms to date – Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. The Director of the CARICOM Representation Office in Haiti has visited some of the affected areas in that country.

The Secretary-General on behalf of the Community and its Secretariat expressed deepest condolences to and solidarity with the Governments and People of the affected states, and particularly to the families of the victims that have perished in the devastating series of storms.

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