Some 1,200 houses were damaged during the passage of Hurricane Tomas. (Photo: Lance Neverson)

ST. VINCENT (Jan. 13):- The World Bank has approved a US$5 million (EC$13.5 million) loan for “reconstructing damaged and vulnerable infrastructure caused by Hurricane Tomas in October 2010” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

The loan, which matures in 34 years and has a grace period of 10 years, also “aims to improve resources identifying specific risks”.

Hurricane Tomas devastated the agricultural sector, damaged 1,200 homes and left hundred in shelters in St. Vincent, in addition to widespread infrastructural damage and about ten deaths in St. Lucia.

The United Nations on Dec. 15 made a special request for international financial institutions and development agencies to assist Haiti, St. Lucia, SVG and other countries affected by the hurricane.

The request, along with expressions of solidarity and support, came in the form of a new resolution that was unanimously adopted by the United Nations, SVG’s UN mission said in a press statement.

The resolution also called for “continued effective humanitarian, technical and financial assistance that contributes to overcoming the emergency and achieving the rehabilitation and recovery of the economy and the affected population and through reconstruction and disaster risk reduction efforts that take into consideration the impact of climate change, in conformity with the priorities identified at the national level.”

The document was drafted by the Permanent Mission of SVG to the United Nations. SVG and Saint Lucia then tabled the document and led a process of negotiations and amendments to the draft resolution, which culminated with its unanimous adoption.

A total of 69 countries co-sponsored the resolution.

Nedra Miguel (Photo: SVG UN Mission)

Nedra Miguel, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’affaires of SVG to the United Nations, addressed the General Assembly prior to its adoption of the resolution.

Miguel itemized the damage done to SVG by Hurricane Tomas. The Vincentian envoy also noted that the increasingly busy Hurricane Seasons were making the Caribbean increasingly vulnerable to the impact of these storms.

“2010 was the 11th ‘above normal’ Atlantic Hurricane Season in the last 15 years,” Miguel said.

“It follows that our region’s vulnerability to these events is similarly ‘above normal.’ Clearly, with 73 per cent of recent Atlantic Hurricane Seasons being categorized as ‘above normal,’ we may have to reevaluate what constitutes a ‘normal’ hurricane season.”

Miguel also sketched the activities undertaken by the government’s “Operation Recovery and Reconstruction,” and singled-out for thanks a number of states that had already contributed to SVG’s recovery.

“Even as we thank all those who have assisted us to date in our recovery, we continue to stress the importance of this resolution’s call for “continued effective humanitarian, technical and financial assistance” to SVG, and all of the other countries unfortunately affected by Hurricane Tomas,” Miguel said.