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OAS contributes to relief efforts in the Caribbean

The Organisation of American States (OAS) on Tuesday made a financial contribution to help Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines recover from the deadly hurricane that struck last week. Hurricane Ivan killed 37 people in Grenada, and destroyed some 90 per cent of buildings. St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ important banana crops and housing suffered heavy damage as well.“I think it is fundamental that we do everything we can to help,” said Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi while handing over a $25,000 check each - from the OAS’ Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM) - to Grenada’s Ambassador Denis Antoine and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Ambassador Ellsworth John.

Einaudi said while the FONDEM contribution may not be significant “in financial terms,” the hemispheric Organisation was engaged in efforts to mobilise as much help as possible.  He also cited hurricane relief activities which the OAS-affiliated Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is already undertaking in Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the other affected countries.

PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo noted that the Foundation had mobilised corporate partners to donate, and that emergency shelter materials were already on the way.

“Grenada has indeed been reduced to rubble,” the Grenadian envoy reported, thanking the OAS for “this first response.” He went on to note the tremendous setback Ivan had dealt Grenada, and outlined the massive damage to his country’s public buildings, hospitals, schools and homes. Antoine listed among urgent immediately-needed items generators to provide electricity, housing and shelter materials, building tools and roofing material.

The Ambassador of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, stressed that Ivan’s economic toll was still being assessed for important sectors like agriculture, housing and infrastructure. But, he noted, Vincentians were mindful what they suffered “doesn’t compare in any way to the devastation that took place in Grenada.”