Relief items for St Vincent to be dispatched in next 48 hours

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (3rd, right) during the meeting with Private Sector executives at State House on Saturday

President Dr Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips and Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo this afternoon held an urgent meeting with members of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) and the Private Sector to coordinate an emergency response to help sister CARICOM nation St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

President Ali had reassured his St Vincent Head of State colleague via telephone on Thursday of Guyana’s full and unwavering support during this crisis.

The Caribbean nation is grappling with the effects of the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, which has severely displaced its residents, including a large number of Guyanese.

The SVG government has sent a list of emergency items that are needed and a national mobilisation effort has been launched to assist the island state.

In a post on his social media page, President Ali said Guyana is aiming to dispatch relief items over the next 48 hours.

The team that met with the President this afternoon brainstormed the fastest possible route to the islands, as flying is prohibited.

President Ali said that it is extremely important to get the items off and urged those present to put all systems in place to get it done in the fastest possible time.

This emergency response is expected to be the first of many from Guyana.

A section of the island covered in volcanic ash (Photo: UWI SRC)

Additionally, a Disaster Relief Fund has been established at the GBTI bank to help the Caribbean island. The GBTI account name is ST. VINCENT DISASTER RELIEF FUND and the account number is 011803403012.

Among the items required are: 1000 water tanks (800 and 1000 gallons), 5000 buckets (5 gallon), 10,000 folding cots, 150 portable toilets, 30,000 blankets along with 50 field tents (20ft x 20ft) and (910ft x 10ft).

In addition, two field kitchens, 3000 sleeping mats, 1000 respirator masks with filters, 25,000 goggles, 2000 reflective vests, 100 caution tape (100ft roll), and 10,000 hygiene kits are also needed.

During an update on the NBC Radio in St Vincent and the Grenadines Saturday morning, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves expressed appreciation to Guyana.