UK confirms additional £70m to help hurricane-hit British islands

4 Dec 17

The UK has confirmed an additional £70m aid package to support the recovery and reconstruction of British islands hit by hurricanes. 

Prime minister Theresa May announced the long-term support package, which will be supplemented by up to £300m of UK loan guarantees, during a Downing Street meeting with leaders from 11 British overseas territories.

Ahead of the meeting on Monday last week, May said: “This new £70m package of support demonstrates the UK’s ongoing commitment to help its overseas territories as they get on with the difficult work of recovery.”

The UK has already committed £92m to the region since hurricane Irma and Maria struck in September and October, and affected more than 2 million people, the prime minister’s office said.

Leaders of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos, the worst hit British territories, also attended the meeting.

The same day, US senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also introduced legislation in the Senate that would set aside up to $146bn for reconstruction and aid in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The bill followed Puerto Rico’s plea for US recovery assistance earlier this month, of up to as much as $21bn over the next two years to keep the government operating.

Following the hurricanes earlier this year, many governments were not able to release aid funds to affected countries because they were deemed too rich.

But the OECD development assistance committee changed its aid rules to include temporary overseas development assistance in the event of humanitarian crisis.

The Dutch government said earlier this week that it would not give any aid to Caribbean island Saint Martin unless the prime minister, who lost a no-confidence vote on 2 November, stepped down. 

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