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Ryancia Henry is originally from Antigua and Barbuda, she moved four months ago to Montecito, California, to take up the position of Director of Housekeeping, managing a team of 60 people, at a hotel that has now closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak. With international travel disrupted, and movement restrictions within the United States of America, Ryancia is among millions of workers in the hospitality industry considering what the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on her, her staff, her family and her friends.
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Nearly a year ago, catastrophic hurricanes devastated the Caribbean. After Hurricane Irma, almost the entire population of Barbuda, a small island in the eastern Caribbean, was driven to its twin island of Antigua. In Dominica, Hurricane Maria wiped out crops, equipment and infrastructure. In efforts to ensure that women both benefit from, and lend their expertise to the humanitarian response in the Caribbean, UN Women has been working with partners in the immediate aftermath of the storms and beyond.
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As the hurricane season ends in the Caribbean, and three months since Hurricane Irma caused the entire island of Barbuda to evacuate, Farmala Jacobs, Acting Executive Director of the Directorate of Gender Affairs of Antigua and Barbuda says the devastating hurricanes across the Caribbean this year show that we can no longer afford to leave anyone behind, and most certainly not women and girls.
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With the urgent need for hygiene products specifically for women, UN Women and UNFPA joint support meant that these supplies were distributed to women who had been evacuated from Barbuda, on the very same day they arrived in Antigua.
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It is expected that the law enforcement response to gender-based violence reports will be strengthened for several countries as selected officers embark on a two week internship programme with the Ottawa (Canada) Police Services Department.