Antigua and Barbuda: Govt promotes resilience under EU-funded Housing Support project
Antigua and Barbuda: Govt promotes resilience under EU-funded Housing Support project

Antigua and Barbuda: The government is carrying out the EU-funded Housing Support project in order to encourage resilience. The European Union (EU) is supporting efforts to rebuild Barbuda as part of post-Hurricane Irma’s recovery efforts.

On 29th June 2022 (Wednesday), ten (10) families received the keys to their newly constructed homes under the Housing Support to Barbuda Project Phase 2 led by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda by the strategic directions and financial help of the EU and executed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. These homes are part of 84 homes that are being provided in the last stage of the 5 million euro project to renovate and reconstruct the homes that were destroyed during Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

A total number of 104 houses have been redeveloped.

Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska, on behalf of the EU, mentioned, ‘‘The European Union is providing shelter and reconstructing better houses for those who lost them due to the adverse climatic conditions, thus making a way to add on resilience that the region has always shown.”

Ugo Blanco, Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP, described that with the aid of steadfast partners like the European Union, we continue to support the government’s aim of constructing forward and boosting the resilience of Antigua and Barbuda in order to continue on its path of achieving the path of sustainable development goals. Hence, improving the resilience of the area ensures that the Caribbean can move ahead in spite of its vulnerabilities.

Almost 95 percent of the buildings were damaged in the region, and the country was classified as uninhabitable directly after the hurricane. However, after five years, the hope of life is looking up in Barbuda because of the Union’s support and the work of the government. Ambassador Dr Clarence Henry, the representative of the Office of the National Authorizing Officer (ONAO), stated that the authorities are cheerful to have played a crucial role in upgrading the quality of life for beneficiaries who met the criteria. The funding of the EU could not bring relaxation to everyone, but the aid was greatly welcomed by recipients. There are many lessons that were learnt, and the Beneficiary Selection Committee (BSC) performed efficiently in concert with UNDP and the contractor.

Ambassador mentioned, “They are thankful to the EU for responding to the administration’s request for the help to combat the number of housing challenges in the aftermath of divesting hurricane Irma on Barbuda.”

Additionally, new apartments are not only components of the resilience building, but handing over the keys and by collaboration with the Department of the Environment, nearly 500 fruit trees were distributed to the individuals under the greening components of the project. The environment is adversely affected by these harsh weather conditions, and trees are not immune as in recent years, more trees have been affected by the storms.