BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — The board of directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has approved grant assistance of US$2,377,250 to the government of Haiti to meet the country’s insurance premium for coverage provided by the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) for the 2015-2016 hurricane season.
Haiti is one of 16 Caribbean nations that buy policies from CCRIF, which provides rapid cash payments to help regional governments maintain essential services in the aftermath of a natural disaster.
“This grant assistance is just part of our ongoing commitment to support the government of Haiti in its efforts to better mitigate and manage the impacts of natural disasters. CDB will remain a close development partner and help Haiti advance and emerge as a stronger, more resilient economy,” said Dr Warren Smith, president of the CDB.
Haiti continues to recover from the catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010, which caused more than 300,000 deaths, displaced more than three million people and made more than one million homeless. Since then, the country experienced devastating torrential rainfall, flooding and other localised disasters in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
At a July 3 meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Caribbean agencies involved with climate change, including CCRIF, Smith affirmed that building resilience to natural hazards is central to CDB’s mandate to reduce poverty in the region. He added that adequate resourcing is urgently needed given the economic constraints faced by Caribbean countries.
“CDB has also been helping CARICOM countries to directly address the more complex socio-economic, environmental and natural resource management issues that exacerbate their climate vulnerability. Weak fiscal buffers and unsustainable levels of debt have severely restricted these countries’ ability to finance robust capital investment. Therefore, substantial climate finance is urgently required. CDB has been emphasising support for the rebuilding of infrastructure to higher standards. However, we could make a more significant contribution to the region’s efforts in both disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, if adequately resourced,” Smith said.
CDB’s country strategy paper for Haiti 2013-2016 states that support with insurance coverage is an area of intervention, which aligns with Haiti’s development objectives. Its particular benefit is that such financial support will help Haiti recover more quickly from the effects of natural disasters.
Since May 2013, CDB has provided grants for full payment of Haiti’s CCRIF premiums, given its fragility and high vulnerability to natural hazards.
Haiti was formally admitted into membership of the CDB on January 19, 2007.