The Observer reports today (29 October 2017) that Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, claims his country is being overlooked in the Hurricane Irma and Maria relief efforts because it has a higher income per capita than other Caribbean islands.
The article in the Observer notes that we have already pledged £62m in emergency relief for Caribbean countries affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.
This support covered the immediate humanitarian response across the islands and delivered a total of 683 tonnes of much-needed aid, including food, water, shelter kits, solar lanterns and building materials.
In addition, Antigua and Barbuda was already receiving UK support through our £300 million UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund. This will support making the busiest roads on Antigua, used by more than 75% of its traffic, more climate-resilient with better drainage.
We also provide financial support to CDEMA, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, who have been on the ground in Antigua and Barbuda to provide humanitarian assistance.
In response to today’s Observer article, a DFID spokesperson said: “British troops and aid workers were amongst the very first in the region following hurricanes Irma and Maria, and delivered vital life-saving aid where it was needed most. Britain supported the Red Cross appeal and money has been provided to Antigua and Barbuda and St Kitts and Nevis through this appeal.
The UK is providing long term support and expertise to the Caribbean both in terms of money and the recovery and reconstruction process. We are working with the World Bank, CARICOM, the Caribbean Development Bank and the affected governments directly on recovery and reconstruction plans. In Antigua and Barbuda we released £14 million for climate-resilient infrastructure projects to help the islands build back better and stronger.