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Funding & Finance
Recovery is an important aspect of disaster management which is often ignored. Recovery involves the transition from emergency response functions to restoration of basic services and the initial repair of physical, social and economic damages. In order to achieve this, proper planning in the form of procedures, trained personnel as well as the necessary funding to action these procedures is important.
In the aftermath of an event, relief/recovery funding may be accessed through insurance, government grants, and international funding facilities. Some financial assistance is available to the general public, while other options are available to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago from international sources.
Financial Assistance Available to the Public
According to the Association of Trinidad and Tobago Insurance Companies (ATTIC), many homeowners do not invest in property insurance nor are they adequately insured against the relevant hazards which affect them. One method to reduce losses for the insurer and the cost of insurance for the insured is for insurance companies to offer incentives for home owners to mitigate against the hazards to which they are most vulnerable in exchange for reduced insurance premiums and better coverage.
The following are a list of Grants and Subsidies available to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago:
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Home Improvement Subsidy Programme
This programme targets persons who wish to do improvement works on their home. The Ministry of Housing and the Environment provides up to $20,000 to successful applicants as long as the applicant can contribute a matching or greater amount through cash, materials on site or a percentage of the labour costs. The total household income of the applicant must not exceed $ 4,500 a month.
Home Improvement Grant
This is similar to the above grant however, no matching funds are required. The maximum payout for home improvement is $15,000. This is accessible through the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.
Minor Repairs Reconstruction Grant
This is accessible through the Ministry of the People and Social Development. The aim is to provide assistance in the form of building materials to impoverished persons whose homes are in dire need of repair. A maximum of $10,000 in materials may be made available.
Emergency Cases Fund
The Ministry of the People and Social Development disburses monies appropriately from this fund. This fund provides several grants designed to assist needy persons as well as persons who have been victims of natural disasters such as hurricane, fire or flood. The Grants that are available under the Emergency Cases Fund include:
- Household Items Grant
- Clothing Grant
- Housing Repair Grant
- Medical Equipment Grant
- Home Help Grant
- Dietary Grant
- Pharmaceutical Grant
- Education Grant
- School Textbooks Grant
- Special Child Grant
- Uniform Grant
- Burial Order or Funeral Grant
It must be noted that these funds/ grants lend assistance in the disbursement of relief funds. It is important that these grants be married with proper structural mitigation practices such as hurricane and earthquake proofing of housing. If this were to be coupled with housing improvement, Trinidad and Tobago would be able to build capacity through stronger building practices and reduce its vulnerability to hazard impacts.
Financial Assistance Available to the Government
The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF)
CCRIF is a risk pooling facility, owned, operated and registered in the Caribbean for Caribbean governments. It is designed to limit the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes and earthquakes to Caribbean governments by quickly providing short term liquidity when a policy is triggered. It is the world’s first and, to date, only regional fund utilising parametric insurance, giving Caribbean governments the unique opportunity to purchase earthquake and hurricane catastrophe coverage with lowest-possible pricing. CCRIF represents a paradigm shift in the way governments treat risk, with Caribbean governments leading the way in pre-disaster planning. CCRIF was developed through funding from the Japanese Government, and was capitalised through contributions to a multi-donor Trust Fund by the Government of Canada, the European Union, the World Bank, the governments of the UK and France, the Caribbean Development Bank and the governments of Ireland and Bermuda, as well as through membership fees paid by participating governments.
Sixteen governments are currently members of CCRIF: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
For more information, contact CCRIF’s Corporate Communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or view www.ccrif.org.
UN Central Emergency Relief Fund
This requires a damage assessment to be submitted within 72 hrs of the event. The response is fairly fast, but not as fast as CCRIF and countries do not have to pay any premiums.
The Inter-American Emergency Aid Fund (FONDEM)
FONDEM has been in existence since 1995. It may provide up to US$ 25,000 relief to member states that have suffered a natural disaster impact. FONDEM is dependent on member state contributions and other donations solicited by the Director General of the Organisation of American States (OES).
Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
Emergency Grant, This grant has a limit of US$ 200,000 and is triggered very quickly. It is dedicated to the specific uses of damage assessment, fuel/transport and water services. It cannot be used for food.
Emergency Response Loan. Tthis is a soft loan facility with a limit of US$750,000 which can be used for clean up, road rehabilitation, restoration of electricity and telephone services. It is mainly for infrastructural uses.
Rehabilitation Loan. This loan has a ceiling of US$ 3M. This is not a soft loan and must be carefully weighed. However, it is at the affected country’s discretion to determine its use.
The Heritage and Stabilisation Fund
The Government of Trinidad and Tobago established the Heritage and Stabilisation Fund by the HSF Act No.6 in March 2007. It was previously known as the Interim Revenue and Stabilisation Fund.
The purpose of this fund is to:
- Cushion the impact on or sustain public expenditure capacity during periods of revenue downturn whether caused by a fall in prices of crude oil or natural gas.
- Generate an alternative stream of income so as to support public expenditure capacity as a result of revenue downturn caused by the depletion of non-renewable petroleum resources; and
- Provide a heritage for future generations, of Trinidad and Tobago, from savings and investment income derived from excess revenues.
The purpose of the fund does not speak directly about the use of funds in the aftermath of a disaster. It is not dedicated to the provision of disaster relief funding, however this may be a source of relief assistance after a national disaster. However, the fund is highly dependent on the revenues earned from petroleum sales and is therefore open to fluctuations in contributions made to the fund based on fluctuations in petroleum prices. In order to access monies from this fund, authorization must be gained via the Prime Minister in consultation with the five member management board placed in charge of the Fund.