The estimated gross financing needs as a consequence of the April volcanic eruptions of La Soufriere in St Vincent and the Grenadines has now been put at US $174 million (EC $470 million).
This is nearly one quarter, 24.4 per cent of gross domestic product.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves during his face-to-face programme said these figures are according to a recent World Bank document and does not yet take into consideration the impact of COVID-19.
Last year, the prime minister said the economy contracted by 3.8 per cent which was the lowest in the Caribbean, except for Guyana which grossed significantly due to discoveries in oil.
Gonsalves said because of COVID-19 and the volcano the estimated number for 2021 is 6.1 per cent decline. He noted that though there is a projection next year that St Vincent and the Grenadines should grow in excess of 8 per cent, that projection will depend on a number of things.
“If we don’t have any more natural disasters; if the world economy does not experience any further deterioration; if we implement what we are supposed to implement in an optimal manner and this of course is dependent too on the extent we have the uptake in the vaccination.”
The prime minister pointed out that even if St Vincent and the Grenadines experiences growth next year in excess of 8 per cent, the island still will not go back to pre-COVID times.
Meanwhile, giving an update on the number of shelters, Gonsalves said by the end of today St Vincent and the Grenadines should be in a situation where there are no schools remaining as shelters for volcano evacuees.
Housing repairs are ongoing and the government is in the process of completing the first batch of 27 houses at Orange Hill with resources lined up to do further construction.
There are seven families (33 people) staying in private apartments since the eruptions. Alternative accommodations are also being found for them.