In the wake of widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Maria and Irma, the United States has pledged a mere US$4.3 million dollars to the overall recovery efforts, while Haiti, still recovering from the 2010 earthquake, has donated $250,000.
Though the Caribbean island's contribution amounts to roughly a sixteenth of the U.S. pledge, the contrast couldn't be starker. Haiti, so often called the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, is keeping pace with the world's wealthiest nation when it comes to its commitment to the region.
“We are very touched by the contribution made by Haiti,” said the Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit, adding that their donation left him “very satisfied.” Dominica was rendered virtually tree-less after the hurricanes passed over the island during a two-week period.
Skerrit has promised to rebuild, turning his nation into the “world's first climate-resistant island.” Dominica sustained hurricane damage estimated at $1,3 billion. Approximately 60 percent of the island's housing and infrastructure was destroyed.
Like several other social benchmarks, the United States also falls behind other less wealthy countries when the question is: Who is donating to help Caribbean islands recovery efforts? Canada has given US$78 million, while China has donated US$30 million.
Venezuela, facing U.S.-imposed sanctions, has forgiven up to US$100 million in debt to several Caribbean islands, while the Netherlands has pledged US$700 million and Mexico has donated US$27 million.
Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne called the US$4.3 million donation from the United States “a disappointing pledge from the wealthiest country on the planet to assist countries in distress, located within its so-called third border.”