Last updated: 22 November 2017, 10:25 am
The United Kingdom’s new International Development Secretary has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to countries devastated by major hurricanes in September.
As part of this pledge, a new package of aid worth £15 million (US$19.8 million) has been announced for Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.
Penny Mordaunt, who took over the ministerial role earlier this month, visited the Caribbean over the weekend.
She was accompanying Prince Charles, who first visited Antigua and Barbuda, before heading to the British Virgin Islands and ending his trip in Dominica.
Mordaunt stressed that British people should be proud that the country was able to help Caribbean islands “in their time of crisis”.
Now as we move on from the immediate response phase, on to the long-term future of the islands, Britain will continue to stand by people whose lives were devastated,” she said.
“We are also talking to the international private sector who can support the reconstruction efforts to make sure the islands can build back, and better.”
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the UK government was criticised for being too slow to respond to the humanitarian crisis.
Rebuilding of water system
Of the £15 million package, £12 million is going to Dominica and £3 million will go to Antigua and Barbuda.
The new aid is in addition to the £15 million already allocated to British overseas territories. The total UK contribution has reached £92 million.
Dominica is expected to use a large amount of the money to rebuild a water system that saw 97% destroyed by Hurricane Maria.
For Antigua and Barbuda, the fund will be released once the local government has agreed on the priorities for reconstruction on Barbuda.