Barbudans benefit from 10 more homes and 100 fruit trees

Barbudans were given fruit trees which help protect the environment as well as provide food (Photos contributed)
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Ten more Barbudan families have received keys to newly rehabilitated homes as part of post-Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.

They are among 84 homes being provided in the final stage of a €5 million (US$5.24 million) project to repair and rebuild properties destroyed or severely damaged by the September 2017 disaster. A total of 104 houses are being refurbished or rebuilt.

The Housing Support to Barbuda Project is led by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, with finances and strategic guidance from the European Union, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Speaking on behalf of the EU, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska noted, “The European Union engagement with the region remains strong. Providing shelter and rebuilding stronger houses for those who lost them as a result of climate events is for us a way to add on to the resilience that the region has always shown.”

Ugo Blanco, Deputy Resident Representative for UNDP, explained, “With the support of a steadfast partner like the European Union, we continue to support the government’s goal of building forward and boosting the resilience of Antigua and Barbuda.

“For the region to continue on its path to achieving the sustainable development goals, improving regional resilience is paramount to ensuring the Caribbean can move forward despite its intrinsic vulnerabilities.”

Approximately 95 percent of buildings in Barbuda were damaged by Irma.

New homes are not the only component of the resilience building efforts underway. In addition to the handing over of keys and in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, more than 100 fruit trees were also distributed to beneficiaries of the programme on Wednesday.

The environment is badly impacted by severe weather systems and trees are not immune. Reduced tree cover can also increase the negative impacts of storms, not to mention the impact fewer trees have on carbon and supporting livelihoods.

Recipients were also taught various planting and nurturing techniques including grafting and budding. They had the option to choose from trees including cherry, pomegranate, sugar apple, sweet tamarind, papaya, ackee and more.

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