The Caribbean Development (CDB) has approved a package of US$11.435 million to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to finance a project to reduce the vulnerability to extreme rainfall and other climate change impacts of over 21 thousand people living in communities in Georgetown, Bridgetown and Marriaqua.
The package includes a loan of US$11.2 million for the upgrade of roads, bridges and river defences and slope stabilisation; a grant of US$175,000 for financing the cost of consultancy services for technical assistance for the enhancement of national early warning system; and a grant of US$60,000 for financing the cost of consultancy services for monitoring and evaluation.
This project is expected to reduce the vulnerability of the communities by adopting a proactive approach to reducing risk through the upgrading of road sections and bridge structures at critical locations and the upgrading and reconstruction of road sections to increase alternate routes for climate change adaptation.
In total, three bridges will be upgraded or reconstructed; 3.2km of roads will be built or upgraded and defences work will be carried out on over 708 metres of river.
There will also be institutional strengthening with respect to monitoring and evaluation, and building disaster risk management capacity through the integration of the national early warning system (NEWS) into the country’s comprehensive disaster management strategy.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and President of CDB, Warren Smith, signed the agreement in St. Vincent on Wednesday during a meeting of the Board of Directors of the CDB.
Warren said: “The project for disaster risk is one we feel very strongly about. We know that St. Vincent is positioned geographically in a place where you suffer the risks of disasters taking place, and over the last few years, I think that CDB has pumped something like 20-odd million U.S. dollars into your country in response to those events.”
He noted that more than 20,000 persons are expected to benefit from the project, adding, “That’s no small impact.”
Gonsalves told reporters that the loan will finance the demolition and reconstruction of Dixon Bridge, Union River Bridge on the Windward Road, Union River Bridge at Chapmans, river defences and river training works at Union River, Zhenga River, and Yambou River.
The monies will also be used for road works at Gokool Road at Langley Park, Maroon Hill to Zhenga Bridge; engineering services, detail design, contract preparation, contract supervision and consultancy services, including the National Early Warning System (NEWS).
“We have been doing some work already on some designs. Those have to be completed a final design, and then we get the things going. Some of this work will be this year, and then next year,” Gonsalves said.