The United Kingdom government has pledged to provide Dominica with £65 million (US$90.2 million) to help the island become the first climate resilient nation in the world.
Head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Colleen Wainright, made the disclosure at the official launch of the Climate Resilience Executing Agency of Dominica (CREAD) on Friday.
“In 2015, Tropical Storm Erika caused damage equivalent to around 90% of Dominica’s annual gross domestic product. And only two years later with Hurricane Maria we have seen that figure rise to over 200%,” she said.
She added that with the frequency and intensity of hurricanes only like to increase, Dominica has recognised that it must build back better and develop infrastructure, insurance and other support systems that have a much stronger chance of surviving future storms and disasters.
Bearing commendations from the UK government for “the vision and aspiration of the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is determined to make Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world,” Wainright announced how the money would be allocated.
“We have recently announced £25 million of new funding to rebuild and strengthen the water system across the island so in the event of a future hurricane the supply of drinking water will either continue or can be quickly reestablished.”
She noted that £25 million will also go towards rehabilitating the road from Loubiere to Bagatelle, which was essentially destroyed during the hurricane.
“We will strengthen key health facilities across the island so they can better withstand hurricanes and be able to provide essential medical support in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” she said.
The DFID official said that the funds will also help to create jobs and boost the employment skills and prospects of young Dominican people.