Skerrit, who is chairman of the 15-member regional integration grouping, is being accompanied by CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque, the executive director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) as well as the Dominica government’s advisor on Disaster Management, Cecil Shillingford.
Last week, Skerrit had called for support for the two Caribbean countries and urged the private sector here to lead the initiative.
Hurricane Matthew has been blamed for the deaths of nearly 900 people in Haiti where it also caused widespread destruction, leaving thousands homeless.
While no deaths were reported in the Bahamas, the storm also destroyed a number of houses there.
CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque expressed sadness with the loss of lives, homes and property during the passage of hurricane Matthew, and he gave the assurance that CARICOM is fully engaged in assisting affected countries with their recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Haiti was the most seriously affected CARICOM Member State with more than 1000 deaths, thousands displaced and widespread devastation. Matthew also affected Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines where there was one death reported, St. Lucia, Dominica, Jamaica, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Secretary-General said CDEMA – the CARIBBEAN Disaster Emergency Management Agency - is leading the CARICOM response, working with national relief organisations to assess damage, determine priority needs and provide relief. He said he has been in discussions with the leadership of the affected countries and the Head of CDEMA.
Ambassador LaRocque said the early response to the aftermath of Matthew and the support put in place to resource the recovery effort underline the critical importance of the Regional institutional frameworks established by the Community.
In addition to CDEMA’s work, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has already process payment to two affected countries, including more than twenty million US dollars to Haiti.
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