The island of Barbuda will be granted GBP2.85 million (US$3.71 million) to help rebuild its energy network following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma two years ago.
The grant was approved by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and will be funded by the United Kingdom under its aid programme, regional body announced today.
Barbuda was devastated by the category 5 system on September 6, 2017, destroying most private residences and much of the island’s infrastructure. Over the next two days, the entire population of around 1,400 people was evacuated to nearby Antigua as category 4 Hurricane Jose approached, threatening further damage and loss of life to the already storm-battered territory.
“The works will make Barbuda’s energy network more resilient to storms and climate change and reconnect households, which have been off the grid since Hurricane Irma in 2017.”– Vice-President of Operations at the CDB, Monica La Bennett
Despite reconstruction efforts, much of Barbuda and its population remain without electricity and other essentials.
With the grant, roughly 25 per cent of the around 1000 residents still without permanent electricity will be reconnected, the CDB said. The funds will be used to place half of the 16 kilometres of the electricity network underground and provide hybrid solar systems as backup power for key public facilities.
Vice-President of Operations at the CDB, Monica La Bennett, said “The works will make Barbuda’s energy network more resilient to storms and climate change and reconnect households, which have been off the grid since Hurricane Irma in 2017.”
More than 100 customers are recipients of temporary electricity since Irma while another 150 remain unconnected, said the CDB.
The project is expected to provide jobs in several areas including construction and operation over the short term while improving the energy in the long run. The CDB said “The availability of resilient electricity infrastructure is a basic good necessary for the socioeconomic progress of households, private enterprise and the public sector. Through the provision of a stable source of power, the project will also contribute to lifting people out of poverty and lowering the country’s dependence on fossil fuels.”