What are the needs?
The Caribbean region, consisting of around 700 islands, is the heart of the “hurricane corridor”. Humanitarian emergencies in this region often result from natural hazards such as hurricanes, floods and landslides. Parts of the region are also exposed to earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, with more than 30 active volcanoes.
Between 1980 and 2016, more than 37.1 million people in the Caribbean have been affected by disasters. High population density and growth, inequality and extreme poverty undermine the capacities of vulnerable communities to cope with natural hazards.
How are we helping?
Since 1994, the European Commission has provided over €516 million in humanitarian aid to the region (of which over €358.8 million were allocated to Haiti). This funding has helped respond to disasters, and better prepare populations to future emergencies.
Following category 4 hurricane Matthew’s landfall on Haiti’s southern coast on 4 October 2016, the European Commission allocated €1 775 000 in emergency assistance for early relief to the most affected populations, in need of temporary shelters, safe drinking water, health and sanitation services.
In response to Hurricane Earl, which struck Belize on August 2016 causing significant damage across the country, the European Commission provided €50 000 through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). This EU funding supported the Belize Red Cross in delivering much needed relief - including access to safe water, sanitation services and hygiene promotion, the reduction of risks for vector and waterborne diseases, the delivery of non-food items and livelihood asset replacements for the most vulnerable families.
For 2015 to 2017, the European Commission has allocated €14 million to respond to the effects of the drought currently affecting over 6.2 million people in the Caribbean. The relief helps decrease the impact of the drought on vulnerable populations’ livelihoods, and strengthen food security, nutrition and access to health services.
In 2015 and 2016, the Commission has brought relief and provided protection to highly vulnerable people from the Dominican Republic who are now displaced in Haiti. Aid focused on helping non-accompanied minors, facilitating family reunification and providing primary assistance. It also helped monitor and respond to the ongoing cholera outbreaks in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Emergency relief was also delivered to the island of Dominica, severely hit by tropical storm Erika in August 2015. Access to water and sanitation was provided, strengthening hygiene infrastructure and practices, as well as health services, so as to minimise the risk of diseases.
The European Commission funds activities to reduce the impact of future disasters through its Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). For 2015 and 2016, over €9 million has been allocated to help people become more resilient and to better prepare for recurrent disasters in the region.