By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director, Christine Lagarde, says her organisation is willing to help the Caribbean countries severely affected by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“The IMF stands ready to do whatever it can to help in those situations – in assessing macroeconomic implications, determining financing needs, and providing financial support that would also help catalyse broader financing from the rest of the international community,” she said.
Lagarde was speaking at the opening session of the sixth IMF High Level Caribbean Forum held in New Kingston on Thursday.
She noted that emergency relief following events like hurricanes is a key responsibility of the global community.
The IMF head also proposed convening an event with all the major public and private stakeholders to explore options for building resilience in the region, including risk mitigation and debt-management strategies.
She added that this will be done by working with the Caribbean authorities and in close collaboration with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank, and other development partners.
Meanwhile, Lagarde expressed her deepest sympathies to the governments and people of the Caribbean for the loss of life and devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“These hurricanes have again highlighted the special vulnerabilities of the Caribbean and the need to strengthen its resilience. Climate change is expected to certainly intensify the impact of natural disasters and worsen the vulnerabilities of small states in the Caribbean. Rising sea levels increase risks of erosion and flooding, and warmer water temperatures heighten the potential for more intense hurricanes,” she pointed out.
She added that “we must come together to address the challenge posed by climate change and help those most affected by it”.
Photo: Prime Minister Andrew Holness (second right) converses with International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde (second left), in New Kingston on November 16 for the opening session of the Sixth IMF High Level Caribbean Forum. Others (from left) are Ambassador Plenipotentiary for Economic Affairs, Dr Nigel Clarke, and Head of the IMF Mission Team to Jamaica, Dr Uma Ramakrishnan. Photo: Michael Sloley