Fund could mean emergency relief

Caribbean politicians attending last week’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference at the Marriot Resort were urged to sign up for a new UN emergency relief fund, which can provide much needed financial assistance within 72 hours of a disaster.

Barbara Carby, director Hazard Management Cayman Islands explained that the $500 million Central Emergency Relief Fund could save lives by making money available when it is most needed.

She urged politicians on hand to talk to their country’s UN development officers about the programme if they were not already signed up.

According to a UN press release, the landmark fund will save thousands of lives that would be otherwise lost to delay under the current under-funded mechanism, the Central Emergency Recovery Fund. The CERF will be capable of providing aid in three to four days, as opposed to four months or more under current arrangements, it said.

‘The goal of the fund is simple: to provide aid workers with sufficient funding to jump-start lifesaving relief operations and to immediately deploy staff, goods and services, for people in need when most lives are on the line,’ the press release said.

Leaders at the conference also discussed the new Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, which will provide participating governments with immediate access to liquidity if hit by a hurricane or earthquake.

Bodden Town MP Osbourne Bodden said the Government – which is one of 18 participating – would be entitled to up to US$49 million in the event of a major natural disaster. Under the terms of the insurance policy, the Government contributes $2 million annually, and would be required to pay a premium of $2 million to make a post disaster claim.

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