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British assistance to Montserrat reaches over £50 million

Countries
Montserrat
Sources
DFID
Publication date

28 January 1998 The latest package of assistance to help Montserratians deal with the volcanic crisis on their island has brought the total amount committed by DFID since July 1995 to =A351 million.

This week DFID has agreed to fund projects to help start up small and medium scale businesses. It will also contribute substantially towards the running costs of the Government of Montserrat for the first quarter of 1998.

The help - nearly a million pounds in all - for small and medium scale businesses will be available on both Montserrat and Antigua. It will assist people wishing to start their own businesses, which will be a source of employment on both islands, and enable many Montserratians to re-establish financial independence.

DFID is also finalising a further phase of assistance for housing on Montserrat. This follows the recently revised health advice which recommends all residents evacuate the area of Woodlands currently known as the Central or Buffer Zone, thereby creating additional pressure on housing in the north on the island. A further 50 houses will be constructed on the Lookout site, together with provision of serviced plots for up to an additional 100 houses. The plots will be available both for applicants under self build schemes, as well as further publicly provided houses.

Notes for Editors

  • 1. Over the last two and a half years, the funds from DFID have provided essential infrastructure for the inhabitable North of the island, including power and water supplies, education facilities, a jetty, new roads and housing. Hospital services have been improved and special accommodation for the elderly and disabled has been built.
  • 2. In the last two years, DFID has contributed =A316.4 million towards the running costs of the Government of Montserrat. In 1997 the department funded two thirds of the GoM budget. DFID has agreed an additional =A31.4m for the first quarter of 1998.
  • 3. On Antigua, an additional =A33 million package has been provided to help to meet the additional pressures on the health and education system resulting from the presence of many Montserratians.
  • 4. All Montserratians have since August 1997 been offered the choice to leave and move to other parts of the Caribbean, or to the UK, with financial help from DFID to relocate if needed. 4,300 people have taken up the offer of help to relocate, and 3,500 have remained on Montserrat.

Issued by Information Department, Department For International Development, 94 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL; Tel: 0171 917 0950; Fax: 0171 917 0523