BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved US$65.5 million in loans and grants to the government of the British Virgin Islands to assist with the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction of social and economic infrastructure, resulting from the cumulative effects of recent severe weather events.
Daniel Best, director, Projects Department, CDB noted, “The government of the British Virgin Islands’ preliminary assessment report estimates US$3 billion in damage and losses — the equivalent of three times the annual gross domestic product, from the passage of Hurricane Irma.”
“This project is a reflection of our commitment to providing and mobilising resources for recovery and reconstruction, and to improve climate resilience and socially inclusive infrastructure and institutions in our borrowing member countries,” Best added.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction project aims to strengthen the socio-cultural and economic preparedness and resilience of the population of the British Virgin Islands to future climate-related hazards, while supporting the population in re-establishing sustainable livelihoods. This will be achieved through:
- The rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical social and economic infrastructure in the country’s transport, water and sewerage, governance, education and national security sectors;
- The provision of technical assistance in design and construction supervision services; and
- Institutional strengthening for psychosocial support and disaster mitigation.
The project will be supported through a US$65.2 million loan and a US$300,000 grant.
It comprises several components, including:
- Rehabilitation and reconstruction of critical climate-resilient social and economic infrastructure;
- Enhancement of institutional capacity for: psychosocial support and disaster risk reduction;
- Upgrade/reconstruction of 3.9 kilometres of roads;
- Construction of approximately 900 metres of coastal defences;
- Construction/upgrade of 12 educational institutions and recreation facilities;
- Rehabilitation of nine public infrastructures;
- Rehabilitation of ten water and sewerage facilities;
- Provision of information and communication technology equipment and other resources for 29 institutions; and
- Training of 80 persons in providing psychosocial support services.
In October and November 2017, CDB approved three immediate response loans on highly concessionary terms, totalling US$2.25 million and an emergency relief grant of US$200,000 to the British Virgin Islands after the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and Tropical Storm José. These funds assisted the government in the provision of emergency relief supplies and humanitarian assistance, cleaning and clearing debris, as well as restoring critical infrastructure and essential public services.
The project is consistent with the bank’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.