Codrington, Barbuda, July 12, 2018 – The $ 2 million post-disaster roof restoration project funded by Chinese aid to repair 250 rooftops to restore Hurricane Ima-destroyed Barbuda has made it possible for hundreds of people to return to the island after all the time the island was evacuated for the first time in September 2017 due to strong hurricanes.
As the first project in the Caribbean for China Aid, the project surpassed the goal of repairing 250 damaged roofs in an effort to improve national building codes. During the six-month relief and restoration project, a total of 302 houses and key facilities were provided with roofing materials on June 30th.
“Thanks to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the People’s Republic of China, the project has exceeded all goals and expectations – this is a model that can be replicated in other countries – and provides significant assistance and greater resilience to future hurricanes.” said Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne at the graduation ceremony in Codrington, Barbuda on July 12, 2018.
The Chinese government has made a substantial commitment to restore 250 damaged roofs as part of a Build Back Better principle. UNDP worked with the government to develop the project for the procurement and transport of roofing material to Barbuda and for technical support for the National Office for Disaster Management (NODS). and contractors, ”said Stephen O’Malley, Resident Representative of UNDP Barbados & OECS.
“As we drove today, we can now see so many more children on the island who look much happier,” he commented on the number of families returning to Barbuda and their newly repaired homes after nine months of absence after evacuating all 1800 residents when Irma destroyed the tropical island.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Antigua and Barbuda HE Wang Xianmin was impressed by the speed of reconstruction, which began on his first visit to Irma-affected Barbuda in January 2018 – and the success of the new trilateral model within the framework of South-South cooperation – The People’s Republic of China is providing the funds for roofing material, the government is hiring contractors and coordinating repairs, and UNDP is implementing the project.
During the ceremony, authorities emphasized that the initiative provided the disaster-hit island with significant relief and increased resilience to future hurricanes.
According to estimates by the Red Cross – more than half of the population of this small Caribbean island – a thousand people have now returned to Barbuda. However, according to national estimates, it will still require an estimated $ 222 million to repair the damage.
“It will take time – but Barbuda has made more progress than any other island in the region. We must appreciate the support our donor friends have already received,” said Prime Minister Browne.
“Today the landscape has changed for the better – a different story than a few hours after the hurricane.”
Joint project: A Hurricane Irma reconstruction initiative. This is a joint project that UNDP has carried out with the government of Antigua and Barbuda (National Office for Disaster Management – NODS) and which is supported by the China Aid program within the framework of South-South cooperation.