CASTRIES: The United Kingdom has pledged EC$500,000 in immediate support to St. Lucia, to assist in recovery efforts following the Christmas storm that devastated the island.
In addition, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, James Chang, presented a cheque for US$200,000 on Monday to St. Lucia Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony for humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the storm.
The UK money will be made available to the United Nations Development Program to assist in agreed recovery efforts in Saint Lucia.
Alan Duncan, Minister for International Development of the United Kingdom, said it was extremely important to convey the regards of his prime minister and government and to assure St. Lucia of the full support of the UK.
During a meeting with Dr. Anthony at Hewanorra International Airport in St. Lucia, Duncan expressed regret over the loss of life and homes and pledged further long term assistance to help the Caribbean nation rebuild its infrastructure. Anthony briefed the British minister on the impact of the trough on St. Lucia and updated him on the progress to return normalcy to the island. He also expressed gratitude to Duncan and his government for their consideration and assistance to the people of St. Lucia.
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese ambassador extended sympathies and condolences to the families of those who died in the disaster, and hoped that “things would be back to normal soon”.
Chang commended the relevant agencies for their efforts with the restoration work that has already been initiated.
“We are glad to learn that substantial restoration has been made on water and electricity supplies,” he said. “Telecommunications is back. The north to south traffic is restored and most of the debris has been cleared from affected schools and hospitals.”
Anthony thanked the people and government of Taiwan for their donation. He said assistance will be given to those who deserve it, noting that the hundreds who are most affected are among the very poor.
“We need to be sure that those who are affected are the ones who are the beneficiaries,” he said. “NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) and the Red Cross have a very critical role to play in helping us identify those households.”