Barbuda, Codrington – 26 January 2018 – The Hannah Thomas Hospital in Barbuda is among the first of 250 buildings whose roofs are being rebuilt, following a US$2 million support from the China Aid Post Disaster Restoration initiative, implemented by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Antigua and Barbuda National Office of Disaster Services (NODS).
Roofing repairs kicked off today in Barbuda after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on 8 September 2017 leaving a total $52m in damage to all buildings and houses, with major roofing destruction. Losses ranged from minor (Level 1) to major (Level 4), with more severe damage on private structures than public ones, according to the NODS-UNDP Building Damage Assessment.
“Antigua and Barbuda are grateful for the generous support from the Government of China, with the significant $2 million contribution helping us to build back better for Barbudans, and for UNDP, for the significant assistance and technical skills to help us rebuild climate-resilient homes,” said Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, during a high-level event at the Hannah Thomas Hospital, with Barbuda Council officials, the Embassy of China and delegates, including UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Representative for Barbados and OECS Stephen O’Malley.
The initiative focuses on restoring lives with high standard roofing for homes and priority buildings, including government facilities. The houses of essential staff, such as teachers, medical personnel, civil servants, will be prioritized and eligibility criteria have been defined to determine the selection of houses to be repaired.
“On behalf of the China Government we would like to reaffirm our support for the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, and for our brothers and sisters of Barbuda who suffered devastation, said China Ambassador HE Wang Xianmin. “The Government of China is delighted to support rebuilding this paradise”.
A first shipment of timber for roofing repairs (22 bundles), shipped from Barbados via its sister island of Antigua, arrived at Barbuda’s River Wharf by barge on January 14, filling a gap in material shortages with a generous portion donated to the Hannah Thomas Hospital. More than 100 sheets of plywood, almost 200 pieces of lumber and additional wood items will be used to fix the hurricane-damaged hospital roof.
Barbuda’s tourism sector was also deeply affected, with $72.6m in losses with all hotels closed by Irma-related damage.
“Our assessments show that this is a roofing crisis, and, therefore, a priority for the recovery process”, explained Aurelie Boukobza UNDP Recovery Advisor in Barbuda. “This South-South Cooperation initiative is crucial because once families have a roof on their heads, they can move back and some livelihoods can be reestablished.”
The Government of China has joined UNDP to support not only the island of Barbuda, but also Dominica, with both initiatives totaling $5million.
The building back better strategy places affected communities at center of recovery efforts. In line with UNDP’s Quality Standards, local communities are being consulted and involved in the recovery process to boost skills among affected women and men.
Improving and enforcing the national building code for all constructions is also a major component of the UNDP-China Aid Post Disaster Restoration initiative. This entails a close partnership with the Development Control Authority to launch a ‘best practice’ training manual, both for building professionals and the public. The objective is to rebuild with hurricane-proof standards, in line with a revamped building code.
For pictures of China Aid-UNDP-NODS material: http://bit.ly/2EcnN9O
For more information:
UNDP in Antigua and Barbuda: Kerrie Hall Kerrie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Website http://www.bb.undp.org / undp.org/resilientcaribbean