CARICOM moves to help hurricane victims

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is providing technical assistance, relief supplies and financial resources  to the countries affected by the disastrous, ongoing Atlantic hurricane season.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) has mobilized its resources in helping to assess the damage and the provision of relief while determining further needs of the affected countries, according to a  press release yesterday from the CARICOM Secretariat at Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.

It said further that the 2008 hurricane season has been especially active and destructive. And between August 15-September 8, 2008 five weather systems were formed in the Atlantic, posing major threats to the Caribbean, with one dissipating before landfall.

Meanwhile, Secretary-General of CARICOM Edwin Carrington said last Wednesday that he was heartened by the response of member countries to their neighbours in need of aid and relief following the recent storms.

Speaking at the end of the 14th Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Barbados on September 10, when the leaders discussed the situation and pledged support to those affected, the Secretary-General noted that even countries affected by the storms had willingly come to the assistance of others more seriously distressed.

Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands have all experienced the ferocity of the hurricanes.  Lives have been lost, while homes, infrastructure and agricultural producing areas have been destroyed by wind and floods.

In the meantime, the human and economic costs are still being assessed, but will no doubt be tremendous, further burdening the region’s efforts at development, the release stated.

However, the human toll has been highest and the needs greatest in Haiti which has been affected by all the major storms to date – Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike. The Director of the CARICOM Representation Office in Haiti has visited some of the affected areas in that country.

The Secretary-General also expressed deepest condolences to and solidarity with the governments and people of the affected states, particularly the families of the victims who perished in the devastating series of storms.

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