In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and the US Department of Defense, has provided more than US$12.6 million in humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean.
On September 7, USAID/OFDA deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to several countries in the Caribbean to lead the US government’s humanitarian response, working in support of affected governments. A USAID Response Management Team has also been established in Washington, DC, and the Dominican Republic to support comprehensive relief assistance.
USAID/OFDA has provided US$250,000 to support the disaster relief efforts of national Red Cross societies in Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis. USAID/OFDA also provided US$200,000 to Samaritan’s Purse in Dominica for response activities.
In addition, USAID/OFDA has airlifted more than 152 metric tons of critical relief supplies, including heavy duty plastic sheeting for emergency shelter needs, hygiene kits, chlorine, water containers, and blankets, aboard nine flights for Caribbean hurricane relief efforts in the above countries.
In Dominica, the USAID DART is working with the US Department of Defense, Southern Command, in coordination with local disaster officials, to ensure that items airlifted by USAID are strategically distributed to those most in need, including communities in remote areas.
The DART remains flexible and nimble in order to mobilize to other areas based on needs assessed on the ground. USAID’s disaster efforts are done in support of host governments and in partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, Red Cross societies, and other donors to provide humanitarian assistance to people in need.