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European Law Monitor newsAftermath of Hurricane Dean: the Commission finalises €3 million humanitarian aid package for the Caribbean

The Commission is preparing to allocate €3 million of emergency aid to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Dean in the Caribbean. As a result of the decision, aid can be provided to some 50 000 people affected by the hurricane in Belize, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Dominica and Haiti. The funds will be managed by the Commission´s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel.

The aid will be used for temporary shelters, medical care, drinking water, sanitation, food and other necessities, urgent repairs to homes and efforts to restore people's livelihoods.

Louis Michel, the Commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid, insisted that the disaster again underlined the importance of risk reduction programmes and preparedness. "Without the preparations and early warning systems that have already been set up in the region, thanks particularly to Commission funding, the death toll would have been much higher. Over and above the emergency aid to tackle the immediate needs of those affected, the real challenge lies in ensuring that disaster reduction becomes an integral part of development aid, particularly in high-risk regions such as the Caribbean. This investment helps to minimise future suffering and damage."

Hurricane Dean swept through the Caribbean from 17 to 21 August, killing fifteen people and leaving a trail of destruction. In Dominica and Saint Lucia 75 to 85% of the banana crop was destroyed and plantations were uprooted; the devastation of breadfruit, mango, grapefruit and avocado plantations has destroyed much of the food supply and the livelihoods of the local populations. In Haiti the worst affected regions were the south and southwest, where flooding and high winds destroyed plantations, houses and infrastructure. In Jamaica the Government has declared a month-long state of emergency. In Belize nearly 2 500 families have lost their homes and many crops have been destroyed, particularly in the Corazal and Orange Walk districts in the north.

Since 1995 the European Commission has provided humanitarian aid worth more than €127 million in response to emergencies in the Caribbean. In addition to emergency aid, ECHO has allocated over €16 million to disaster preparedness in the region.
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Reproduced with the permission of the European Commission REF IP/07/1273