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11/19/04 - CARIBBEAN RECOVERY - 2004-11-20

The United States has announced a one-hundred-million-dollar Caribbean program to help countries hardest hit by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Tropical Storm Jeanne. U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the money will be spent on restoring people's livelihoods and shelter while reducing the region's vulnerability to future hurricanes:

"You could say it goes into homes. It goes into jobs. It goes into agriculture -- restoring the agricultural base in these countries.

On Grenada, ninety percent of the structures were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Ivan, which devastated the island in September. Mr. Boucher says that the primary countries receiving hurricane assistance are Grenada, Haiti, and Jamaica.

"Grenada will receive forty-two-million dollars of this money. Haiti will receive thirty-eight-million dollars of the money. Jamaica will receive eighteen-million dollars of the money. We'll also be working with other countries in the region, such as the Bahamas, to develop and implement recovery projects utilizing the remaining two-million dollars."

Roger Clarke, Jamaica's Minister of Agriculture, says part of the funds will be used to provide farm tools, seeds, and equipment to more than six-hundred farmers. As Mr. Clarke put it, there will "be no cash in hand."

Right after the hurricanes struck, the U.S. organized more than fifteen airlifts to deliver emergency relief supplies to the region. These included plastic sheeting for shelter, hygiene kits, food, and medical supplies.

The U.S. will continue to work with the people of the Caribbean to ensure they have the support they need to recover from terrible natural disasters.