http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/un-chief-to-visit-devastated-caribbean-islands/article/504227

UN chief to visit devastated Caribbean islands

Posted Oct 4, 2017 by AFP
The world's response to the devastation from back-to-back hurricanes in the Caribbean has been poor, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday ahead of a visit to three affected islands.
A family stand outside their house in Roseau  on the Caribbean island of Dominica after Hurricane Ma...
A family stand outside their house in Roseau, on the Caribbean island of Dominica after Hurricane Maria hit the island
Lionel CHAMOISEAU, AFP/File

The world's response to the devastation from back-to-back hurricanes in the Caribbean has been poor, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday ahead of a visit to three affected islands.

Guterres will travel to Antigua, Barbuda and Dominica on Saturday to get a close-up view of the damage wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria that hit within two weeks.

The United Nations has launched an appeal for $113.9 million to cover urgent humanitarian needs, but "on the whole, I regret to report, the response has been poor," Guterres told reporters.

He said small islands like Dominica -- population 73,000 -- must be given access to special financing mechanisms because they are unable to tap into normal capital markets.

The United Nations is working with the World Bank to carry out disaster assessments and help the islands rebuild with a view to becoming more resilient to extreme weather fueled by climate change.

"A warmer climate turbocharges the intensity of hurricanes," said Guterres. "Instead of dissipating, they pick up fuel as they move across the ocean."

Barbuda was devastated by Irma, a monster Category 5 hurricane that unleashed winds of 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour for 37 hours -- the longest on record at that intensity.

Harvey and Irma marked the first time that two Category 4 storms made landfall in the United States in the same year, said the UN chief.

Maria decimated Dominica and had a severe impact across Puerto Rico, the US island visited by President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

Dominica's Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made an emotional appeal when he addressed the UN General Assembly 10 days ago, saying his country was "on the front line of the war on climate change."

"The desolation is beyond imagination," he told the assembly.