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St. Vincent & Grenadines: Volcano damage could amount to 50% of GDP — finance minister

The loss and damage caused by last month’s explosive eruption of La Soufriere could amount to 50% of the gross domestic product, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves has told Parliament.

“Even preliminary, incomplete assessments of the damage and the loss that we face are sobering estimates,” he said on Tuesday as he presented an EC$117.9 million supplementary budget in response to the eruption.

“Even without going to the full extent of the Red Zone, the Orange Zone and up the mountains, we know that clean-up costs will exceed $30 million.

“We know that there’s damage to over 5,000 buildings exceeding $35 million. We know that at least $175 million of loss and damage has been inflicted on the agricultural sector, and some estimates are as high as US$150 million. We know that in the red zone, 100% of crops, vegetable crops, have been destroyed; 65% of arrowroot crops, 90% of tree crops, and 80% of root crops have been destroyed.”

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