The U.S. government, through U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP), donated four mobile hospitals for emergencies and natural disasters to Antigua and Barbuda and to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
On November 18, 2021, U.S. Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Linda S. Taglialatela handed over two of the hospitals, valued at more than $1.3 million, to Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves, the Health Ministry indicated.
“This donation […] marks yet another step in our shared journey, as we work together to end the pandemic and recover from the volcanic eruption,” Amb. Taglialatela said.
On November 11, Amb. Taglialatela also handed over two hospitals to Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne, at the Defence Force headquarters in Camp Blizzard. The hospitals, valued at more than $1.3 million, will have the capacity to assist 80 patients, the U.S. Embassy said.
These facilities can withstand winds of up to 105 km/h, the Antiguan newspaper Observer reported. The units are equipped with air conditioning, folding beds, fans, and oxygen and power generators; personnel can assemble them quickly for any emergency, from a severe virus outbreak to a catastrophic hurricane, the newspaper added.
According to Observer, Prime Minister Browne said that the hospitals will be useful on the sister island of Barbuda, where residents have long lamented the lack of medical facilities.
U.S. assistance to Antigua and Barbuda and to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines flows mainly through multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank, and through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State indicated on its website.
In April 2021, USAID provided $4.7 million to support Saint Vincent in the aftermath of the La Soufrière volcano eruption, the U.S. Embassy said. This eruption covered the island of Saint Vincent in ashes, polluting air and water sources; some 20,000 people were evacuated, EFE reported on November 25.
USAID will work over the next five years with Caribbean governments to increase community resilience in the face of natural disasters and promote a safe, prosperous region that supports vulnerable populations, Guyana’s Stabroek News newspaper reported.
To achieve these goals, USAID joined efforts with the Caribbean Community through the Regional Development Cooperation Strategy, launched in September 2021, the U.S. Embassy indicated. Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will benefit from this partnership.