BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (26th April 2021) – In response to Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves’ international call for humanitarian assistance, the Government of Canada has pledged CAD$440,000 in immediate aid to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The disaster relief funding, provided through Global Affairs Canada, will assist Vincentians in their immediate response to the volcanic eruptions at La Soufrière.
The emergency relief funding will focus on the basic needs of displaced persons, including those in shelters, with a contribution of $50,000 to support the work of Rapid Relief Team SVG and the health needs of displaced women and children through a contribution of $50,000 to the World Pediatric Project Caribbean. Canada has provided $90,000 to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross via the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support shelters for evacuees and to provide relief supplies and first aid services.
Canada has also mobilized a $250,000 contribution to the World Food Program (WFP) following the UN Flash Appeal for assistance to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This funding will allow WFP to scale-up its life-saving operations for the next three months to provide food security, logistics, and emergency telecommunications.
Since the eruption of the volcano at La Soufrière began on April 9, over 13,000 persons (more than 10 percent of the population) have been displaced from their homes into shelters and other forms of temporary housing. The volcano remains in an eruptive state, and the local situation is further compounded by the continued COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s urgent response and support for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines seeks to ensure human dignity is maintained through humanitarian action and focuses on the protection of the rights of women and girls, a key tenet of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy.
This emergency assistance, first announced by Global Affairs Canada on April 25, complements Canada’s long-term disaster preparedness and readiness initiatives with partners such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Canadian Red Cross, Pan-American Health Organization, World Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). These partners, currently on the ground in St. Vincent, are assisting with response efforts through Canadian funding. Canada’s $8.2 million project with CDEMA not only provides support for strengthening regional disaster preparedness and response efforts, but also includes an Early Recovery Fund, which will be mobilized to provide at least $400,000 to support early recovery efforts. Canada has also partnered with the CDB in preparing communities for this type of volcanic event, and recently provided a leading contribution of over $81 million to the replenishment the CDB’s Special Development Fund – which has and will continue to support response, recovery and reconstruction in St. Vincent.
Canada’s humanitarian assistance to the island-nation follows discussions between Prime Minister Gonsalves and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Marc Garneau, held on April 13. Canada remains a committed partner and unwavering friend to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as the country responds to the evolving natural disaster.