With the high demand in the Eastern Caribbean for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies due to COVID-19, the United States stepped up to assist their partner nations during this crisis.
More than $100,000 worth of PPE and other medical supplies were donated to seven Eastern Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s (CDEMA) Regional Response Mechanism, these PPEs could be distributed to the countries. The supplies included 1,000 surgical masks, 500 face shields, 250 protective goggles, 1,200 latex gloves, 1,000 shoe covers, 10 gallons of hand sanitizers, and 87 hazmat suits.
The supplies were packaged for each country and issued to their respective national disaster offices for distribution targeting those who are on the front line and are highly exposed, including essential services personnel and security forces.
“This donation is one of several programs and initiatives the U.S. has provided to support our neighbors in the Eastern Caribbean”, said U.S. Coast Guard Commander Steve Charnon, senior Defense official at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, which also oversees the U.S. Security Cooperation Offices (SCO) in the Eastern Caribbean. “Coordinating these donations to help combat COVID-19 was a true team effort and reflects the enduring partnership between the U.S. and the Eastern Caribbean, as well as regional organizations such as CDEMA and the Regional Security System.”
These packages were made possible by the SCO and are part of the larger U.S. Southern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program, which conducts activities in conjunction with partner nations to alleviate human suffering, disease, hunger and privation, particularly in regions where those needs may pose major challenges to the civilian population.
“The unprecedented nature of this pandemic requires collaborative efforts between our region and its partners to respond effectively to the needs of our participating states”, said Elizabeth Riley, CDEMA executive director. “I would like to express our thanks to the SCO and U.S. Embassy Barbados for its support to the region’s ongoing management of the COVID-19 impact,” she added.