The Department of Emergency Management (DEM) received a shipment of emergency supplies on behalf of Government from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) on Wednesday.
That has resulted in Government receiving 14,000 sets of protective gloves; 9, 000 masks; 6,000 gowns; 4,000 goggles and 2,000 protective coveralls.
DEM Director, Kerry Hinds, welcomed the donation from the two agencies to the national disaster management mechanism, which would be used to support any emergency support scenario.
“There has been a recognition and a deliberate move by stakeholders of our national emergency management system to bolster our partnerships with various organisations and entities to ensure we have surge capacity in the form of human, equipment and material resources to assist in our response and relief efforts should such a situation arise,” she said.
She added that disaster management, and preparing for and responding to adversity was a shared responsibility, requiring the input from a myriad of individuals and organisations, collaborating for the greater good.
The Director further stated that planning for an extremely active season in a COVID-19 environment resulted in them planning with the guidance of health officials, and ensuring that physical and social distancing protocols, and personal protection measures were carried out and other public health advice followed.
Director of Projects at the CDB, Daniel Best, commended the Government of Barbados for its “swift and comprehensive” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that the bank had approved a multi-pronged financial package to help its borrowing members respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That includes policy-based loans of US$140 million, emergency loans totalling US$67 million to seven countries, and a US$3 million programme to provide essential personal protection equipment (PPE) for 14 countries.
Mr. Best noted that the bank also earmarked US$25 million for social protection initiatives, and those which supported the agricultural sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The PPEs being handed over today (on Wednesday) is part of this regional PPE programme. He added that it was also important to note that Barbados also served as a logistics hub for the consolidation and shipment of the PPE purchased under the regional programme.
Acting Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Andria Grosvenor, said the delivery of the PPEs had three underpinning messages – CARICOM solidarity, enduring partnerships and safety and self-sufficiency.
She noted that under CARICOM solidarity, the CDB commenced shipments of PPEs from July 14, to the region. This shipment, she said, included Barbados receiving 147 cartons of goggles, coveralls, gowns, surgical masks, N95 masks and gloves.