The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved USD29 million (mn) in funding to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, to assist with recovery efforts after the passage of Hurricane Irma in September. The funds will be used to rehabilitate and reconstruct critical infrastructure in the transportation, education, water and sanitation, and agriculture sectors.
Hurricane Irma impacted the twin-island nation on September 6, 2017, making landfall in Barbuda as a category five hurricane. In Barbuda, the hurricane destroyed housing, crops, livestock and fishing vessels, and also severely impacted the island’s water supply. The Antigua State College was also affected by heavy winds and rains, while storm surges and flooding caused additional damage to many roads.
“The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma adversely impacted the lives of many citizens of Antigua and Barbuda. At CDB, we worked very closely with our in-country counterparts to develop the interventions captured in this project, which will support the Government’s efforts towards a comprehensive and sustainable approach to the redevelopment process, as it aims to ‘build back better’. We expect the project to significantly contribute to the restoration of livelihoods that were adversely impacted by the passage of the hurricane. The outcome for Antigua and Barbuda will not only be more resilient infrastructure but also more resilient institutions and people,” said Director of Projects at CDB, Daniel Best.
The project has several components. Planned infrastructure works include:
- reconstruction of 11km of road, and repair of a bridge, along with associated drainage works;
- reconstruction and rehabilitation of education institutions in both Antigua and Barbuda and construction of teacher accommodation in Barbuda;
- rehabilitation of the desalination plant and water storage facilities in Barbuda; and
- the upgrade and rehabilitation of agriculture and fishing infrastructure.
Additional components include a redevelopment plan and policies for Barbuda, capacity building initiatives and engineering consultancy services.
CDB had previously provided a USD200,000 Emergency Relief Grant and an Immediate Response Loan in the amount of USD750,000 to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. In addition, the Bank has approved a loan of USD11.8 mn to assist the Government in meeting its financial obligations to external partners. This will allow the country to fulfil urgent financing requirements without diverting resources away from critical social or emergency recovery needs.
The project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of promoting environmental sustainability and disaster risk management in its Borrowing Member Countries, and its corporate priority of promoting disaster risk management and climate change mitigation and adaptation.