UK leads the way to build back after hurricanes

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The UK government is to set up a private sector Task Force to help long-term reconstruction in countries and territories hit by last month’s Caribbean hurricanes, International Development Secretary Priti Patel will announce today.

It will mobilise private sector support to rebuild critical infrastructure such as roads and power supplies essential to get economies up and running again, and better withstand future natural disasters.

The team of top business leaders, either CEOs or Chairs with experience in the Caribbean, will sit on the Task Force.

Ms Patel will announce the Task Force at a meeting to discuss the response to the hurricanes and how to enhance global crisis preparedness and response, hosted by the World Bank in Washington D.C.

The Task Force will look at ways in which support from the private sector, both financial and technical, in industries such as construction, insurance, banking and tourism, can be used to help reconstruction on the three UK Overseas Territories worst hit by last month’s Hurricane Irma: British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos.

Ms Patel will convene a meeting in London in November to discuss how best to maximise the contribution of the private sector.

The UK government has already committed over £62 million towards the immediate relief effort, and has delivered or procured nearly 180 tonnes of aid for the region.

It also established a UK Joint Task Force, led by DFID’s Chris Austin, in the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes to deal with the humanitarian crisis on the ground and the initial relief effort as well as to carry out assessments to identify both short and longer term needs.

The focus of the private sector Task Force announced today will specifically be the long-term reconstruction on the affected islands.

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