Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 28, 2021
Thank you, Madam Chair.
When the La Soufrière volcano erupted with apocalyptic fury two weeks ago, it set off a chain reaction. It spurred a crisis within a crisis. Over 13,000 people were forced to flee. Their displacement has caused further anguish to a region already struggling to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. And worse, as you’ve heard today, the start of the Atlantic hurricane season raises the possibility of a triple crisis as the volcano continues to erupt. We must act now – and together – to meet the UN’s $29.2 million fundraising goal and bring relief to the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
And so, we are proud to co-sponsor and join consensus on the resolution before us today. We stand with the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and with their government – a strong partner in the UN Security Council. And in addition to our words, we are showing our solidarity through action. After U.S. Ambassador Taglialatela declared a disaster on April 9, USAID gave an initial $100,000 dollars to the Red Cross to distribute emergency food assistance and relief to affected households. NASA gave $150,000 dollars in aid, and provided expertise, logistics analysis, and recovery support. The United States also gave funds to support evacuation efforts and immediate relief efforts, from food and safe drinking water, to volcano monitoring equipment. This is just a start in what will be a long-term response. These actions represent our firm commitment to our friends in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. And they represent our firm commitment to humanitarian action.
We support disaster risk reduction to help countries prevent the worst disasters and address them when they happen. We support technical cooperation with other nations to ensure our efforts are as efficient and effective as possible. And we will always be ready to provide humanitarian assistance – and urge others to do the same – based on the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence.
When we work together – when we take a multi-stakeholder, multi-hazard approach to disaster response – we can save lives. We can save entire communities. That is what we are here to do for our friends in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and our hearts go out to the people. We are proud to be a part of this.