HC Deb 17 September 2004 vol 424 cc1780-1W
Ms Abbott

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance his Department plans(a) to provide to and (b) to request from the European Union for (i) the Cayman Islands, (ii) Jamaica, (iii) Grenada and (iv) other affected parts of the Caribbean following the passage of Hurricane Ivan. [189791]

Hilary Benn

Details of the UK's immediate humanitarian response to affected parts of the Caribbean, following the impact of Hurricane Ivan, were included in the oral statement I made in the House on 14 September and the written statement provided on 16 September.

Since then DFID has announced a further contribution of £368,000 to the International Federation of the Red Cross towards their regional appeal, bringing our overall support to the Red Cross to £0.5 million. DFID has continued to deliver priority relief supplies, including plastic sheeting, potable water and hygiene materials to the Cayman Islands following an urgent request from the Government. Following the completion of field assessments, we are also considering support to the relief efforts of non-governmental organisations working in Grenada and Jamaica.

The European Community has announced it is mobilising £3.65 million in emergency relief and post emergency rehabilitation to help Grenada cope in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. This includes the earlier commitment of £1.01 million from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office towards the country's emergency needs and to assist St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK share of this European Community humanitarian assistance is about £710,000. The European Union is also planning to mobilise £2.64 million from the allocation to Grenada under the European Development Fund, originally set aside for unforeseen circumstances. This allocation will go towards post emergency reconstruction focusing on the rehabilitation of schools that were severely damaged.

The European Union will also be exploring, with the Government, ways to adapt already committed but as yet un-disbursed funds available to Grenada. In addition, discussions will also be held with the Government concerning a previously earmarked £3.51 million for the development of the water sector in Grenada as to the possibility of using these funds to help with the rehabilitation of the water system that has been severely disrupted.

The full extent of the recovery needs of Grenada and other affected islands will take a little time to be assessed but the extent of destruction and damage indicates significant loss. The World Bank sent a team last week to Grenada. The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and Caribbean Development Bank will be starting their assessment this week. The Government of Jamaica plan to announce their initial findings later this week.

I will be making a further written statement to the House following the recess. In the meantime, the DFID website www.dfid.gov.uk contains regularly updated information.