This month the world marks two key International Days: one for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October and the other for Disaster Risk Reduction, four days earlier. It’s appropriate that these two days are adjacent on the calendar, for they are profoundly connected.
Last month, hurricanes Maria and Irma laid waste to the Caribbean islands of Barbuda, Dominica, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin and many more. Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, declared Barbuda to be “a rubble” and “barely habitable,” and implemented a mandatory evacuation order to move the island’s 1,800 people to safety. It is the first time the island has been uninhabited in over 300 years. In Dominica, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit described the damage as “mind-boggling” and declared that Dominica “will need help of all kinds” to rebuild. The press noted that the island’s rainforests appeared to have vanished.
Governments in several Caribbean countries are starting to rebuild infrastructures, houses and communities with UNDP’s on the ground support after Hurricane Irma left catastrophic damage in several countries.