Japan Ambassador, WFP AND IOM representatives visit Emergency shelter in Biabou, St. Vincent

Japan Ambassador, WFP AND IOM representatives visit Emergency shelter in Biabou, St. Vincent


On January 18, 2022, The emergency shelter in Biabou, was visited by Japan Ambassador to CARICOM Tatsuo Hirayama, Mrs Sarah Bailey, Head of Programme, World Food Programme, Caribbean Multi Country Office, and Mr. Jan-Willem Wegdam, Programme Coordinator IOM Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The emergency shelter which is a Learning Resource centre in the community of Biabou, accommodates twenty-three volcano displaced persons, mainly families from the Red zone communities of Sandy Bay, Owia and Magum in North Windward Saint Vincent.

Many of the shelterees whose homes were destroyed by the volcanic eruption in April 2021, are unemployed.

Shelter Manager Asha who welcomed the visiting delegation, expressed gratitude for their support, noting that their contributions are having a positive impact on the lives of the shelterees.

Shelterees were also able to personally thank Ambassador Hiryama and the UN representatives, particularly for the Soufriere Grant vouchers which came in an opportune time for the 2021 Christmas holiday. Shelteree Patricia said ‘ I was able to put the voucher to good use and also saved from it’.

Another shelteree who is sickly said she used the money to buy items for her school aged children and was able save money to seek medical care.   

Sarah Bailey of World Food Programme enquired if the volcano displaced persons got all items they needed from Massey’s store, as that was the only store where vouchers were redeemable.

The WPF representative also thanked the Government of Japan for the financial support which benefited 18,000 men, women and children. 

Ambassador Herimaya acknowledged the recognition and appreciation from the shelterees and UN representatives, noting that the government of Japan is pleased to assist Saint Vincent and the Grenadines during this challenging time of COVID- 19 and post volcanic eruption recovery. 

Seven emergency shelters remain open across St. Vincent which accommodates 107 volcano displaced persons. The shelterees await their homes to be built by Government of SVG and international partners.

The international organization for Migration IOM, manages emergency shelters in St. Vincent through partnership with the Government of Japan, the National Emergency Management Organisation NEMO, The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health. 

“Immediately after the volcanic eruption IOM distributed hygiene kits and cleaning materials through local partners to more than 1250 families. Now we are supporting the persons that are still in shelters and are creating a new eco-friendly home for 40 displaced Vincy seniors in the North East of the Country. We also repair 21 washrooms in schools”, Jan Willem Wegdam, Programme Coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), St Vincent & The Grenadines.

SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being