US $1B-plus in pledges for hurricane-hit islands

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More than U.S. $1 billion has been pledged to help the Caribbean countries hit by September’s hurricanes rebuild and to do so better than before.
The pledges came at Tuesday’s donor conference in New York with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announcing U.S. $1 billion in resources to help build resiliency in the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Earlier in the day, the European Union (E.U.) committed some 300 million euros to the rebuilding efforts, from which Antigua and Barbuda is expected to benefit.
“Out of the total amount, about a third will be new grant resources for the countries of the region,” a European Commission release noted.
“The European Union stands by the region, and our assistance package of 300 million euros will provide much needed support to accelerate recovery, strengthen resilience, and step up progress towards a sustainable economic path,” the statement reported Neven Mimica, the international cooperation and development commissioner, as saying.
 While some of the funds will be used to cover humanitarian needs in Dominica, Cuba, and St. Kitts and Nevis, the release stated that the majority will provide support for medium-term reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts at the national level in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Cuba and the overseas countries and territories.
Meanwhile, Canada has committed to providing some CDN $100 million over five years.
And the Kuwait Fund has indicated that it is prepared to extend concessional loans and technical
assistance grants to the countries affected by the hurricanes. 
The Fund extends loans on concessionary terms to finance development projects in developing countries.
OBSERVER media understands that the pledges made by the IDB, the European Union, and Canada were among the larger pledges made at Tuesday’s donor conference, which included participation of India, among other developing countries, as well as donor agencies such as the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation.

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