By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is receiving US$40 million from the World Bank in support of Volcano Eruption Recovery, according to the World Bank. The Volcanic Eruption Emergency Project is also financed by a US$2 million grant from the European Union’s Caribbean Regional Resilience Building Facility, managed by the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.
The eruptions of the La Soufrière volcano in St Vincent severely damaged the country’s economy affecting critical services, infrastructure, and agriculture, affecting the entire population of the island of St Vincent. Additionally, over 22,000 people were evacuated and remained in shelters for several months.
“The people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have endured the twin shocks of the volcanic eruption and COVID-19. The project will help the country build back better while considering its vulnerability to natural disasters and the growing threat of climate change,” said Lilia Burunciuc, World Bank Country Director for Caribbean Countries.
The natural disaster, which was made worst by the COVID-19 pandemic, elevated the damage to an estimated US$175 million, which represents 23 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2021.
It is expected that the Volcanic Eruption Emergency Project will help speed up the restoration of critical infrastructure damaged by the eruptions and improve the country’s capacity to respond to future emergencies. The funding should also provide temporary grants to 4,000 displaced households and should also be used for a cash-for-work program to support the ash and debris cleaning.
The World Bank had already provided relief to St Vincent and the Grenadines in April to the tune of US$20 million and US$50 million more in June.