Upcoming logistics hub in Barbados to enhance emergency response across the Caribbean
BRIDGETOWN – Strengthening emergency preparedness and response capacities of the Caribbean islands, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), through a partnership with the Government of Barbados and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will build a logistics hub and training centre in Barbados.
The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley and Executive Director, CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley, today joined WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, for the ground-breaking ceremony at the Grantley Adams International Airport, where the hub and training centre will be located. As part of its global and regional strategy, WFP is working with CDEMA and national governments, to enhance regional emergency preparedness and mitigate and minimize the impact of disasters.
“Barbados is ideally placed to be able to ensure with the help of the WFP and CDEMA that we can provide that geographical location from which you can reach multiple countries in both the Caribbean islands chain and in coastal Latin America,” said the Prime Minister of Barbados. “We have to recognise that no matter how we much money you have in any part of the world no matter how strong you are as a nation or a company you are not immune from certain realities that is why global cooperation and global moral strategic leadership is needed more ever at this point in time.”
Once operational, the hub will support air and sea operations, serving as a prepositioning and response centre as well as a trans-shipment point for relief items. Equipment and staff trained at the hub will be rapidly deployed as needed to support operations in case of an emergency.
“The Caribbean islands are right on the frontlines of climate change. As hurricanes become more frequent and severe, we need to be fully prepared so that lives are saved, livelihoods are defended and hard-won development gains are protected,” said Beasley. “This facility will ensure our partners across the region can serve the people of the Caribbean even more effectively in times of need.”
According to CDEMA's Executive Director, Elizabeth Riley, "the existing multi-hazard environment in which the region operates has created the need to strengthen the emergency logistics response. It is for that reason that we at CDEMA are pleased to be a part of this project and heartened by the support of our donor partners in making the logistics hub a reality."
Caribbean countries are highly exposed to natural hazards such as hurricanes, storms, floods, droughts, and volcanic eruptions. Over the last seven decades, 511 disasters worldwide have affected Small Island Developing States, 324 of which occurred in the Caribbean, with damages at a ratio to gross domestic product six times higher than larger countries.
The construction of the hub has been funded in part by the Government of Canada, the European Union and the USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.
"The U.S. Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is pleased to partner with the World Food Programme Caribbean office to build the first Regional Logistics Hub and Centre of Excellence. This initiative will help the region respond faster to emergencies, including hurricanes and other natural disasters. The United States remains committed to working with our partners to strengthen the region's resilience to climate variabilities," said the U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS, Linda S. Taglialatela
Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, Head of the European Union Delegation to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean States, the OECS and CARICOM, CARIFORUM said that building resilience is critical for Caribbean states to survive and thrive. “I am confident that the logistical hub is a concrete step to making Caribbean and its citizens more resilient to future shocks and thank the WFP for their commitment to saving lives during the events that unfortunately will continue to affect the region,” said the Ambassador.
“Canada is delighted that we have reached this important ground-breaking stage of the Logistics Hub project. This permanent hub is the logical next-step, and through the partnership of WFP, CDEMA and the Government of Barbados we are excited that our funding will further strengthen the ability to prepare and respond to disasters across the region,” said Marthe Lemay, Charge d'affairs at the Embassy of Canada.
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The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.
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