Boris Johnson concedes ‘government failings’ in response to Caribbean hurricanes

Boris Johnson concedes ‘government failings’ in response to Caribbean hurricanes

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has conceded government failings in its response to hurricanes which devastated parts of the Caribbean last year.

His comments came as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office revealed new measures to ensure British overseas territories in the Caribbean have the support they need should there be a repeat of the hurricanes which hit the region last year.

Government departments have been putting plans in place to bring together humanitarian, military support and diplomatic work under a joint unit co-ordinated by the FCO following criticism of the UK response last year.

Johnson said that the UK had “learnt important lessons” after hurricanes Irma and Maria struck British overseas territories including the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Johnson said that he was “working to ensure an even stronger response to any hurricane this year” amid fears that damaged infrastructure could be destroyed, The Times reported.

Irma caused damage that could cost more than £1 billion to repair and displaced 32,000 across the islands.

Measures planned include having a navy ship carrying humanitarian supplies remaining in the vicinity of the Caribbean throughout the hurricane season this year and 2019.

The FCO is also working to ensure all islands affected by the hurricanes last year are covered by insurance.

The government committed £72 million last September to help Anguilla, BVIs and the Turks and Caicos Islands followed by a further £70 million in November for reconstruction efforts and £300 million of UK loan guarantees.

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