April 20th 2021
UN LAUNCHES GLOBAL APPEAL FUND OF US$29.2M FOR SVG
The United Nations launched a global funding appeal of 29.2 million U.S. dollars on Monday to aid citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines affected by the major eruptions from La Soufriere volcano, pledging to remain a "steadfast partner. The funding will provide immediate lifesaving humanitarian assistance, including clean water, and support a sustainable recovery for everyone impacted.
The UN and partners will also assess the economic, social and environmental toll on all the countries touched by the fallout, including ash removal and improving environmental health provisions.
Speaking at the launch this morning Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves expressed gratitude and appreciation to the UN on this initiative. Dr Gonsalves provided details as to the level of devastation that the country has suffered. He pointed out that about one third of the northern side of the island is in a state of desolation with lives and livelihoods disrupted. Dr. Gonsalves also spoke to some of the other broad areas that were affected and where challenges lie, including eh disruption of schools.
Another UN priority is to continue preventing the spread of COVID-19, according to the report. With over 12,700 evacuees having been registered in public shelters and in private homes, close to 20,000 people are expected to be displaced, UN News said.
Entire villages have been covered in ash, buildings damaged, schools and businesses closed, crops and livestock destroyed, and residents left with limited access to clean drinking water.
And further eruptions are expected in the coming weeks. A call for international solidarity has been made to provide a lifeline to the most vulnerable people in Saint Vincent as well as in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada and Saint Lucia, which have been hit with severe ashfall.
This crisis comes as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is recovering from its largest COVID-19 surge amid the pandemic, the region's worst Dengue outbreak in recent history, and a new deadly hurricane season.
RECOVERY FRO LA SOUFRIERE VOLCANO DISASTER WILL RESULTS IN A MASSIVE BILL
Recovery from the La Soufriere volcano disaster in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will result in a massive bill, the country’s finance minister has disclosed. Min of Finance Hon Camillo Gonsalves, made the disclosure to Britain’s Channel Four News on Monday.
“We believe that when this is said and done, the number is going to exceed 50 percent of the GDP of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,” he stated. He said the country had taken a massive hit.
Gonsalves explained that some 20 percent of houses in the ‘red zone’ had either sustained severe damage or were destroyed.
And he explained that unfortunately the red and orange zones of the country coincide with the agriculture belt. “We are tabulating on the fly,” Gonsalves said. “But we think that the humanitarian effort is going to be a number approaching a hundred million dollars,” the finance minister stated. He also estimated that the cleanup effort would cost the same amount.
In addition, Gonsalves said the authorities already have data indicating infrastructural damage in the sum of $150 million. But he disclosed that officials have not yet gone fully into the red zone to tabulate everything.
With the possibility of another explosive activity at the La Soufriere volcano in a week’s time, persons are being again advised to stay away from the red zones at this time which may be considered as being lull.
GEOLOGIST PROFESSOR DR. RICHARD ROBERTSON URGES PERSONS TO DESIST FROM ENTERING THE RED ZONES
Geologist Professor Dr. Richard Robertson while speaking on radio this morning stated that the volcano is still erupting and violent events can take place at any time without warning and has urged that persons desist for entering the red zones which are considered dangerous.
Dr Robertson has also issued a warning against visits to areas such as Rabacca for sightseeing, as this area can be affected by pyroclastic or mudflows at any time.
CCRIF PROVIDES GRANT OF EC6M TO GOVT OF SVG FOLLOWING THE ERUPTION OF LA SOUFRIERS
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facilty, CCRIF has provided financial support in the form of a grant of approximately EC$6.0 million (US$2,209,000) to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines following the eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano.
According to CCRIF CEO, Mr. Isaac Anthony, “This support to the Government has been made possible because CCRIF operates as a developmental insurance company, whereby our members have our commitment to support them in times of crises; seek out opportunities to enable them to enhance their resilience to current and future natural hazards; engage donors and collaborate on programmes designed to reduce vulnerability; negotiate the best prices for reinsurance; and advance disaster risk management and ecosystems-based solutions for the betterment of the peoples of the Caribbean and Central America in keeping with Agenda 2030 and the thrust to leave no one behind.”
CCRIF believes that this support will provide much needed liquidity to respond to the ongoing relief and recovery efforts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Although CCRIF does not currently offer cover for volcanic eruptions it believes that, as the dedicated disaster risk financing facility in the region, it has a moral obligation to respond as best as possible to the needs of its members when confronted with such dire circumstances. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a member of CCRIF since the inception of the Facility in 2007.
CCRIF also extends its sympathies to the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines recognizing the devastating impact of this disaster on the people and communities in the north of the island, their infrastructure, homes, and the psychosocial impacts being experienced by the general population.
Last month, CCRIF also provided a small grant in the amount of US$17,000 to the UWI Seismic Research Centre (SRC), to purchase new communication and ground deformation equipment to be added to those already deployed in St. Vincent, increasing the SRC’s capacity to understand the volcano’s eruptive processes and to better monitor it and be able to provide advanced warning of hazardous activity. Since the Facility’s inception, it has made a total of 50 payouts to 16 of its member governments, totalling approximately US$200 million on their tropical cyclone, earthquake and/or excess rainfall policies.
Seismic activity has continued the pattern established after the explosive activity on 18 April.
Small long-period and hybrid earthquakes continued to be recorded. Two rockfalls were also recorded. No volcano-tectonic earthquakes or tremor have been recorded in the last 12 hours. The seismic station at Bamboo Range recorded the signal from a lahar (mudflow) at 4 am, which lasted for about 30 minutes and may have flown along a valley on the south- eastern side of the volcano. The volcano continues to erupt. Its pattern of seismic activity over the last few days is typical of the growth and destruction of lava domes. Explosions with accompanying ashfall, of similar or larger magnitude, can occur with little or no warning and persons are advised to stay out of the red zone. The volcano remains at alert level RED.
Professor Dr Richard Robertson during his daily updates this morning explained the recent activities taking place at the volcano indicating that the impending hurricane season could worsen the already challenging situation.
Dr Robertson spoke on the impact of rock falls which are also taking place ta the volcano, and further pointed out that the lahars or mudflows which are also taking place, can also cause further damage down valleys and rivers.
MINISTER OF EDUCATION GIVES UPDATE ON THE EDUCATION SECTOR
Minister of Education Hon Curtis King who gave an update of the education sector, acknowledged that it has been faced with a multiplicity of challenges including the recent dengue fever outbreak, the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic and now the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano. However, Mr. King said what is of immediate concern is the impact of all these events on the annual external examinations namely the Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment CPEA and the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate CSEC. He said that discussions are being held with the Caribbean Examination Council CXC, to deal with the situation. Minister King also gave an update as it relates to the CAPE examinations.
GOVERNMENT RECEIVES TABLETS TO ASSIST WITH NATIONAL E-LEARNING PROGRAM
The Government of SVG has received the other tablet computers which will be used to assist with the national E-learning program. Prime Minister Dr Hon Ralph Gonsalves announced recently that before the Volcano erupted the Government had distributed Tablet Computers to most of the Grade Five classes in the country as well as grade sixes, secondary schools and students at the Community College.
He said children in classes lower than grade five did not receive any tablets as yet but those designated for these children arrived in the country recently.
The Ministry of Education will be working to have these devices delivered to the nation’s students and an announcement will be made soon in this regard.
· On 16.04.2021 police arrested and charged Leroy Cuffy, 30 years old Labourer of Barrouallie for with malice aforethought, did caused the death of Mandreca Solomon, 30 years old Labourer of Barrouallie by shooting him on his left shoulder with a gun. Solomon’s death marked the 10th homicide recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the year 2021.
The Accused was also charged with having in his possession one (1) Glock 17 9mm Pistol and ten (10) rounds of 9mm ammunition without a license issued under the Firearms Act, and for using the Glock 17 9mm Pistol in the commission of the offence of murder. The incidents occurred at Glebe Hill, Barrouallie on 14.04.2021.
0n 19.04.2021 the Accused appeared before the Serious Offences Court for an arraignment and was remanded in custody at Her Majesty’s Prison. The matter was 05.07.2021 for trail.
· Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Cleforin Wyllie, a 45-year-old Farmer of Carriere. According to investigations, some unknown person(s), with malice aforethought caused the death of Wyllie by shooting him about his body with a gun. The incident occurred at Carrierre on 16.04.2021. The death of Wyllie marked the 11th homicide recorded in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the year 2021.
The police are asking person(s) with information that can assist with this investigation to contact the Assistant Commissioner in charge Crime at 1784-456-1339 or the Officer in charge the South Central Division at 1784-458-4200 or any Police Station/ Officer that they are comfortable with. All information will be treated confidentially.
FORMER PARLIAMENTARIAN PARNEL CAMPBELL, QC HAS DIED
Former Parliamentarian and Queen’s Counsel Parnell Campbell has died. Mr. Campbell served as Attorney General and Justice Minister in SVG from 1987-1995. He was also a former Parliamentary representative for the Central Kingstown constituency and was the originator and host of the weekly Monday night programme “The Law and You” which was aired on SVG TV.
Th Management and staff of Star Broadcasting extend sincerest condolences to Mr. Campbell’s immediate and extended family as well as his friends, on his passing.
CARPHA COLLABORATING WITH PHAC
The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is collaborating with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to build capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARPHA, the sole public health agency responsible for preventing disease, promoting and protecting health in the Caribbean, together with PHAC, continues to strengthen the capacity of CARPHA Member States (CMS) through the Facilitated – Acute Critical Events Simulation (F-ACES) course, delivered by the prestigious Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Ms. Janice Merhej, Manager, Public Health Agency of Canada, highlighted the partnership of PHAC-CARPHA, stating, “In the context of COVID-19, the Public Health Agency of Canada has been collaborating on various activities with CARPHA, with the aim of strengthening regional health security and promoting interagency collaboration. The Government of Canada shares the common goal with CARPHA of strengthening in-country capacity to prevent, detect and respond to current and emerging health threats.”
Additionally, Dr. Lisa Indar, Director of Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control at CARPHA, who gave the opening remarks at the first F-ACES training session, emphasized, “This timely and important training provides a unique opportunity to strengthen our capacities as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 in the Caribbean Region.”
The F-ACES course is a tailored, four-session training course that targets Emergency Room Physicians and aims to enhance the Clinical Management of COVID-19, especially in an emergency care setting. Starting on March 25th and culminating on April 29th, 2021, a total of 24 Emergency Room Physicians from 19 CARPHA Member States will participate in this interactive training.
CARPHA has a long-standing relationship with the PHAC. Currently, CARPHA and PHAC are focusing on the following key areas of COVID-19 response: Knowledge Exchange on Public Health Communications, COVID- 19 Surveillance Knowledge Exchange, Safe Travel and Tourism Discussion and Virtual Training on the Clinical Management of COVID-19.
CARPHA continues to support its Member States and their response to COVID-19 by providing technical support and guidance, as well as, facilitating capacity building and strengthening. CARPHA continues to work with CMS and both international and regional partners towards a coordinated, regional approach in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigating the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 in the region.
Let's protect each other from COVID-19