Plans are being put in place to bring together humanitarian, military support and diplomatic work to the Territory under a joint unit coordinated by the UK Foreign Office.
The support is part of Government of the United Kingdom’s commitment to the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean in the unlikely event of another devastating hurricane.
Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon said that last year’s hurricanes hit Caribbean British Overseas Territories and the wider region with devastating effect, uprooting lives and damaging local economies.
Lord Ahmad said, “The UK has provided critical support and help with recovery efforts and I have seen for myself the huge impact that this has had already. The UK continues to work closely with the governments of the Overseas Territories in their recovery efforts and in helping to rebuild their economies.”
He added, “Moreover, we have also been working hard with key partners across the region to ensure an even more effective and strategic response in the event we see a repeat of last year’s hurricane season.”
The UK has coordinated meetings between representatives from the USA, Canada, the Netherlands and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to ensure a joint approach to hurricane preparedness. This is a result of plans for a multi-national coordination to reduce duplication of efforts and to make immediate responses more efficient.
The Royal Fleet Auxilliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, a Navy ship deployed to the region since 2017 will remain in the vicinity of the Caribbean throughout this hurricane season and into 2019.
Emergency humanitarian supplies in the form of over 1000 collapsible jerry cans, 1000 hygiene kits and up to 1000 shelter kits have been pre-loaded on the navy ship. The ship will also be on hand to provide life-saving emergency assistance as required.
The UK has also helped to ensure that all islands affected by the hurricanes of last year are now insured under the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Fund (CCRIF). The Department for International Development, (DFID) helped establish the fund which provided over $50 million of quick payouts to hurricane affected Caribbean countries and territories in 2017. This year, the UK has supported the BVI and Montserrat to join as new members. This means that all of the islands affected last year are now covered.
The United Kingdom also committed £72 million in September to help the Overseas Territories of Anguilla, BVI and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Prime Minister Theresa May committed a further £70 million for reconstruction efforts and £300 million of UK loan guarantees in November.
Foreign Office Minister for the Overseas Territories Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon visited Anguilla, the Cayman Islands and Montserrat as part of a regional tour to discuss hurricane preparedness in May and will visit the region again later this month.
Hurricane preparedness was also one of the key topics of discussion at the Joint Ministerial Council with the Overseas Territories in June.
The United Kingdom remains committed to the British Overseas Territories to provide much needed support during the Tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season.