By anguillian October 23, 2017 11:57




fpAn 11-member team from the United Nations Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is in Anguilla, this week, conducting an assessment of the damage and loss sustained by the island when it was heavily impacted by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, September 6, 2017.
The catastrophic category 5 tropical storm caused widespread damage to the island of a proportion not experienced in Anguilla in living memory.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Aidan Harrigan, told The Anguillian that the team was being led by Dr. Omar Bello who is based at ECLAC’s Office in Trinidad. “They are here to assist the Government of Anguilla to do what is called a damage and loss assessment following the impact of Hurricane Irma,” he explained.

“The assessment not only covers damage to buildings, infrastructure and physical facilities but also, quite importantly, especially for us here in Anguilla, loss of business and income as it relates to tourism. As you know, a number of the hotels are going to be closed for what we have been told until sometime next year – probably the whole season. It is important to get the figures so that we can approach the British Government and other donors and stakeholders to get assistance.”

Dr. Omar Bello, speaking on behalf of his team, said it was an honour for them to have been invited by the Anguilla Government to undertake the assessment. “Anguilla is an Associate Member of ECLAC which treats its Associate Members as full Member Countries,” he continued. “We are a team of eleven experts and we have two more experts working outside in order to have this report done in four weeks for the Anguilla Government.

“As Dr. Harrigan said, basically we will estimate the destruction of assets and cost that issue. We would also like to put some cost to losses as a consequence of the disaster in order to have resilient reconstruction in the case of Anguilla. This shows the commitment of the Government for starting the recovery. I would say that the first phase of the recovery is to have a diagnosis of the situation. We really appreciate this and are really impressed with the commitment of the Government to this task.”

Anguilla’s Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Victor Banks, commented: “This is a very important part of the recovery process and we are happy that ECLAC is here. ECLAC is a well-recognised agency that does good work which is always useful for the international agencies. As a matter of fact, the British Government had made the request even earlier than we did to have ECLAC do a damage and loss assessment in Anguilla.

“We are moving pretty well with the aesthetic recovery but, in terms of the actual situation, we have suffered some considerable loss – and we need to put in place a programme for recovery that is more comprehensive. You can only do that when you have a proper assessment done of your losses. That’s where we are, and I think we are ready to go. We are grateful to ECLAC for sending in this group and we are very anxious to work with them to progress the process. It is essential that Anguilla returns even stronger. That is our goal, and we are working assiduously towards that over the next couple of months.”

Mr. Robert Williams, a senior member of the ECLAC team, stated: “The one thing I want to add is that, as a team, collecting information on this island, we have been very impressed with the quality of information and help we have been getting from Anguillians. We really appreciate this because it is not always easy but the people here are on top of collecting this information. They are willing to provide it and that has been very helpful to us.”

By anguillian October 23, 2017 11:57


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