Guyana-made houses helping St. Vincent rebuild after 2021 volcanic eruptions

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In 2021, for the first time after 40 years, the La Soufrière volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines erupted, wreaking havoc across the country.

Now, some two years later, the Caribbean state is still rebuilding, and it is buying ready-made houses from Guyana to replace what was lost.

“We are making arrangements to buy and have delivered to us by the end of March, 15 one, two and three-bedroom houses,” Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) on Tuesday.

These ready-made, wooden houses will be procured from the privately-owned DuraVilla homes. It was previously announced that the Vincentian authorities were interested in about 100 houses in total.

And Prime Minister Gonsalves confirmed this interest on Tuesday, stating that Guyana produces impressive, low-cost houses.

“These houses, they are quite elegant and they are also reasonably priced.

“We will naturally have to do the base and transportation costs…but they are good value for money,” he related.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Dr. Ralph Gonsalves (in blue shirt) during a tour of the DuraVilla houses in Guyana (Photo: DPI/ January 3, 2023)

The Prime Minister arrived in Guyana for a four-day official visit. Already, he visited the Diamond Housing Scheme on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) and the privately-owned DuraVilla homes.

Housing, he said, is one of his focus areas given the damages his country has been grappling with in the aftermath of the 2021 eruptions of La Soufrière.

“We lost a lot of houses during the 2021 volcanic eruptions,” Prime Minister Gonsalves noted.

According to ReliefWeb, a humanitarian information portal founded in 1996, more than 13,000 people were displaced when the 2021 eruptions were at their peak.

For many of those people, particularly those who lived in the dangerous red and orange zones, the eruptions caused damages to their houses and other property. Some properties were outright destroyed.

And Prime Minister Gonsalves said that with funding secured, the country is keen on rebuilding- and enlisting Guyana’s help to do so.

Outside of St. Vincent’s need, the Caribbean leader praised Guyana’s housing plans- commending both the government and private sector for their efforts at providing low-cost housing solutions to thousands of people.

He opined that once Guyana’s needs are met, there is a large Caribbean market for Guyana-made houses.

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