The European Union (EU) is supporting rebuilding efforts in Barbuda as the island continues its recovery efforts. On Thursday, April 28 and Friday April 29, the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) and the Development Control Authority (DCA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean conducted a series of training sessions with contractors and homeowners in Barbuda focused on the Antigua and Barbuda Building Code. The training placed emphasis on structural elements, hurricane preparedness and general construction best practices and was attended by twenty- four persons (Five females and nineteen males). This activity is in line with the EU goal to support Caribbean resilience.
Philmore Mullin, Director of the National Office of Disaster services added that “The direct intervention by the government of Antigua and Barbuda in partnership with UNDP should signal the beginning of low-cost low vulnerability in the housing sector this would result in significant risk reduction across the country. Training and information sharing is key to achieving and maintaining this standard going forward.”
Mr. Edlorn Ray, a contractor speaking in support of the training stated, “The knowledge for proper construction is very important. It improves the quality of the buildings, and it also gives us the resources to build forward better and stronger to withstand disasters.”
During the two-day visit, seven additional families also received the keys to their newly rehabilitated homes under Phase 2 of the Housing Support to Barbuda Project led Government of Antigua and Barbuda and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and through the strategic guidance and financial contribution of the European Union (EU). The 7 homes are part of 84 homes to be provided in the final stage of the €5 million-euro project to repair and rebuild homes that were either destroyed or severely damaged during the passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017.
Beneficiary, Mohammid Walbrook, noted, "It feels great to receive the keys and begin to take the next step towards being back in house I can call my own again."
Valerie Cliff, Resident Representative for UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean explained, “Small Island Developing States, particularly in the Caribbean, are especially vulnerable to natural disasters. Hurricanes are a part of life in the region and due to the changing climate, these occurrences are becoming more violent and unpredictable. Through interventions like this one, we are working with communities to enhance their knowledge and skillset to not only help them to rebuild but to better prepare and in so doing attempt to mitigate the effects of disasters. This training allows us to boost the local capacity of contractors and homeowners by providing them with the knowledge needed to build more resilient housing which will allow climate-resilient building going forward.”
These 7 new homes have been rehabilitated following UNDP's Building Forward Better Principles and takes into consideration the Build Back Better techniques. As exogenous threats like COVID-19 continue to impact the region, it is important that developmental efforts continue to highlight the need for regional resilience and building forward better. As the Caribbean continues to seek solutions to build resilience and livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups, UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region and building resilient communities that can withstand shocks and crises through targeted projects and programmes.
As exogenous threats like COVID-19 continue to impact the region, it is vital that developmental efforts continue to reinforce the need for regional resilience, building forward better build and bolstering livelihoods for traditionally vulnerable groups. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, in partnership with governments and stakeholders, remains dedicated to the advancement of inclusive and sustainable development throughout the region. This intervention is part of the work of UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in its commitment to promoting economic diversification, job creation and resilience with the "Blue Economy for Green Islands" vision.