Fri | Dec 15, 2017

United Nations deploying aid and personnel to Irma-affected Caribbean territories

Published:Thursday | September 7, 2017 | 11:41 AM
Winds brought by Hurricane Irma blow palm trees in Samana, Dominican Republic, on Thursday. – AP

The United Nations System is deploying staff and assistance to meet the needs of vulnerable Caribbean citizens in the path of record-breaking Hurricane Irma.

“Hurricane Irma is an unprecedented threat to the Caribbean. The United Nations is working closely with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)-led Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) and the affected countries to bring assistance to those most in need.  

“We are saddened by the reports of lives lost, and of people made homeless by this storm,” said Stephen O’Malley, United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS.

According to the UN, technical experts drawn from across the Caribbean, regional offices, and the various agency headquarters are deploying to support CDEMA and the affected countries as needed.

These include water and sanitation and hygiene experts, engineers, medical doctors, logistics management, nutrition, waste water and child protection and social protection experts. Emergency funding will also be drawn down to respond the needs of those directly affected.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has also deployed a four-person UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team comprised of first responders to augment CDEMA’s capacity with coordination, needs assessment and information management expertise. UNDAC partners from the International

Humanitarian Partnership and MapAction will provide support with logistics, communications and mapping.

UN Women Multi-Country office – Caribbean is partnering with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to provide dignity kits which contain basic health and hygiene products for displaced women and girls, such as soap, underwear, bras and sanitary napkins.

UN Women is also providing technical and financial support on economic initiatives to get women and their families back on their feet and to address safety and security concerns.

UNDP has activated its crisis preparedness plans and will support countries both during the immediate response to this disaster and in crucial early recovery activities like debris management, emergency employment and supporting core government functions, if asked.