Eight commitments to action have been announced at the first meeting of the Clinton Foundation's Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery.
Launched earlier this year in support of disaster relief and recovery efforts in the Caribbean region, which suffered widespread devastation from two Category 5 hurricanes in September, the initiative brought more than three hundred and fifty leaders from government, business, and civil society to the University of Miami to brainstorm solutions that address immediate and long-term recovery needs in the region.
Commitments to action announced on the first day of the meeting include a partnership between the American Federation of Teachers, Airlink, and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands to fly nurses to the U.S. Virgin Islands to conduct vision, hearing, and dental screenings for nine thousand schoolchildren.
In Puerto Rico, the International Medical Corps will procure a second mobile medical unit to enable Med Centro to reach an additional five elementary and middle schools with comprehensive preventive health screenings and provide training and capacity building to Med Centro staff, while the New York-based Afya Foundation will ship medical supplies and equipment to Acción Social's elder care centers and Americares will provide training for five thousand mental health workers, emergency responders, and social service providers. In addition, Direct Relief, the Hispanic Federation, the Solar Foundation, and New Energy PR have committed to installing solar or solar-plus-storage systems at twelve primary care clinics in Puerto Rico to meet critical energy needs, while Para la Naturaleza has announced a comprehensive reforestation and habitat restoration program through which seven hundred and fifty thousand trees that are more resilient to hurricanes will be planted on the island.
And in Dominica, Digicel will repair or rebuild seven schools and three hundred and sixty homes, train a hundred community members in building techniques, and provide workshops on risk mitigation and disaster preparedness.
"In the wake of the terrible hurricanes, the people of these islands have shown a remarkable resilience and a resolve to do long-term work and build back better," said former President Bill Clinton. "When I went to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Dominica, I was struck by both the determination and the positive attitude of the people there. We are here to do what we can to help these people build communities that are stronger, safer, more prosperous, and more resilient."
"If we do not address the fundamental issues contributing to climate change, we're going to see a greater intensity of disasters like hurricanes Maria and Irma," said Roosevelt Skerrit, prime minister of Dominica, whose government is dedicating $600 million to create a climate resiliency agency. "If the world continues to fail to address climate change, we must not only build back better, but we must improve the national resiliency of our islands. This meeting of the Clinton Foundation is helping to ensure that our efforts to become the first climate resilient nation in the world are system-wide, integrated, and coordinated."