LONDON, England -- Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has written to the prime ministers of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and Saint Lucia following the tragic loss of life and devastation wrought by the recent storm in the Eastern Caribbean.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma
Sharma, who made contact with the respective heads of government shortly after the disaster, said the Commonwealth’s thoughts, prayers and solidarity are with the island nations.
The secretary-general added the Commonwealth community had been made aware of the urgent need for assistance, particularly in St Vincent and the Grenadines, where a number of people have died and an estimated 50,000 are without water. The road network, bridges and housing were severely damaged.
Building the resilience of small states and vulnerable states is a major focus of the Commonwealth, notably through pioneering work on climate finance and debt management, and sustained advocacy in bringing the particular challenges faced by these countries to global attention.
The Commonwealth Disaster Management Agency (CDMA), set up in 2000, offers facilities for dealing rapidly with the aftermath of catastrophes, particularly in Commonwealth member states that are geographically isolated or whose economies and infrastructure can be fragile and often lack the diversification and reserves that are needed to hasten recovery from major setbacks.
The CDMA offers small states of the Commonwealth insurance against the financial effects of meteorological and geological natural disasters, including the rapid disbursement of upwards of US$50 million within days of the event.