The UK government has reaffirmed its commitment to support Dominica to build back better following the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria.
British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Janet Douglas, recently visited areas around Pichelin and Geneva which will benefit from planned, UK-funded improvements to water systems and roads.
She also reiterated UK support to help Dominica realise its vision of becoming the first climate resilient country in the world.
The UK is providing a total of £50.7 million in grant funding to Dominica for priority infrastructure projects.
This includes a newly-agreed £25 million grant to transform the badly-damaged water sector across the island, after Hurricane Maria left 97% of the population without clean water.
The project, implemented by the Caribbean Development Bank through the existing UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund, will redesign and reconstruct Dominica’s water supply, building back better infrastructure which is more resilient to future extreme weather events.
‘Crucial’ to build back better
The UK is also providing a £25.7 million grant to rehabilitate the Loubiere-Bagatelle road, the primary link between Roseau and many southern communities, which was further damaged during Hurricane Maria.
Douglas, visiting Pichelin to view the water supply intake for Grand Bay and Soufriere that was completely washed away by the hurricane, said: “I am proud that the UK is providing vital support for Dominica’s ongoing recovery, following the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria.
“This has highlighted the importance of helping Commonwealth partners like Dominica, who are disproportionately affected by climate change, to find robust and sustainable ways to cope with future extreme weather events.
“It is crucial that we support Dominica to build back better, and the UK is committed to helping them to achieve this goal.”
During her visit, High Commissioner Douglas also discussed UK support for the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica (CREAD) with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
The agency was established after the hurricanes to help co-ordinate and manage hurricane reconstruction efforts.
Following this meeting, Prime Minister Skerrit said: “I want to thank the British government for its commitment to us and for your exceptional show of support and kindness.
“The guidance on CREAD has been remarkable and DFID has provided an unbelievable amount of support following the hurricane.”
In response to the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the UK has provided £185m across the Caribbean, to Commonwealth partner countries and UK Overseas Territories. This includes £7m of immediate humanitarian assistance to Dominica, providing local communities with food, water, emergency shelter, roofing materials, timber, hygiene kits and seeds and fertiliser.
RFA Mounts Bay and HMS Ocean (the Royal Navy flagship) also deployed to Dominica in September 2017, to deliver relief supplies to remote communities using their helicopter airlift capacity.