By Demion McTair. Updated 2:14 p.m., Wednesday, April 28, 2021, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).
Kingstown, St. Vincent: Canada will provide $440,000 to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help with immediate humanitarian needs resulting from the La Soufriere volcanic eruptions.
In a call to National Broadcasting Corporation – NBC Radio with Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday, Her Excellency Lilian Chatterjee, Canada’s High Commissioner Designate to Barbados and the OECS confirmed Canada’s contribution.
Chatterjee said that of the $440,000 for SVG’s immediate humanitarian needs, $250,000 will go to the World Food Program (WFP).
The remaining $190,000 will go to three (3) organizations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which are involved in humanitarian work.
The three organizations are the Rapid Relief Team SVG, the World Pediatric Project Caribbean (WPPC), and the SVG Red Cross, through the International Federation of Red Cross.
The monies are being given to these organizations “to focus on the basic needs of displaced people: to provide food, hygiene supplies, drinking water, clothes and shoes,” Chatterjee said.
The monies are being given “also to address some of the health concerns with respiratory supplies such as nebulizers, ventilators, air purifiers, oxygen tanks, and other medical needs,” Chatterjee added.
Chatterjee praised the resilience of the Vincentian people and the leadership of the Ralph Gonsalves-led administration in handling the crisis so far.
The initial commitment from Canada came after a letter requesting aid was sent to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves thanked Canada for the support and reiterated that St. Vincent’s government has asked other governments to support organizations doing humanitarian work in the country.
“We in the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we ask governments to support, in this humanitarian phase especially, organizations which are doing good work, and which need the support, like for instance the WFP, like for instance the WPP,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
“And the resources don’t have to come, in a phase where we are all doing humanitarian work together, to the government, but to organizations with which we partner in order to make life bearable for persons in this very difficult period,” Dr. Gonsalves added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gonsalves revealed the contents of the letter he wrote to Prime Minister Trudeau.
“In my letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, I kept the matter to three issues:
One: immediate humanitarian relief, and you have provided that through these organizations, and we always would like to get more support because the humanitarian relief period is going to be very prolonged, and I take it that you would continue to partner with us in this period.
Secondly, “a partnership during the recovery and reconstruction phase” [was requested].
Thirdly, “I had raised the issue, possibly for consideration of certain evacuees who meet certain criteria, whom Canada may wish to accommodate on certain particular terms, and I am sure that I will hear from all of those from my dear friend Justin the prime minister,” Dr. Gonsalves said.
The Canadian High Commissioner Designate to Barbados and the OECS said they are hard at work looking at the response and that Canada will always be there for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.