How to support the Hurricane Irma relief effort
by Zoe Dickens
Hurricane Irma, the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever on record, has swept through the Caribbean, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Florida, devastating homes and buildings and causing multiple fatalities. Millions of people are currently without power while many more have lost their homes and possessions with basic necessities, such as shelter and drinking water, scarce. A number of local and international charities have set up relief funds to help those affected, read about them and use the links below to make your donation.
American Red Cross
If you’re in or close to the affected areas and are able to offer on site support the American Red Cross are currently appealing for volunteers to help co-ordinate the relief effort on the ground. Volunteers are currently being sought for Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia with roles ranging from serving food and providing comfort to unloading supplies and setting up emergency facilities. Visit redcross.org.
Latest advice from the Caribbean ask that no more goods donations be made to Port Louis Marina in Grenada. However, items including linens, clothes, non-perishable foods, bottled water, firs aid supplies, nappies and baby formula, are urgently required and are being collected at a number of points including the True Blue Hotel and the SSU Camp at Point Salines International Airport in Grenada.
US-based charity YachtAid Global is appealing for help from those in the yachting community in a variety of ways. Yacht owners can help by volunteering the services of their yacht and crew to transport goods and supplies to affected areas as well as helping to organise logistics and providing expert knowledge of remote areas. Straight forward donations may also be made while YachtAid Global also offer sponsorship packages, including a monetary donation, provision of necessary supplies and on-the-ground volunteering, for those who wish to aid a specific location. Visit yachtaidglobal.org.
Hurricane Irma Appeal
Dedicated solely to helping those in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma, the Hurricane Irma Appeal promises to use 100% of donations to provide emergency shelter, deliver short-term food parcels and help those who have lost everything to return to their lives as soon as possible. Visit hurricaneirmaappeal.com.
American Red Cross
If you are in the US but unable to provide on-the-ground support, donating to the American Red cross is a good way to ensure your money is being put to good use. Donations from $10 – 1,000 are accepted online while it is also possible to donate by mail or phone. Visit redcross.org.
US Virgin Island Relief Fund
Founded by US Virgin Island national and retired NBA star Tim Duncan to specifically help some of the smaller islands affected by Hurricane Irma, Duncan donated the first $250,000 to this campaign and has pledged to match every dollar donated up to the first $1 million. Duncan is also personally organising the relief provided through the fund by chartering a plane full of supplies to St Croix, the largest town in the US Virgin Islands. Visit youcaring.com.
Virgin Unite BVI Community Support Appeal
After suffering extensive damage to his own property on Necker Island, Richard Branson has set-up a fund specifically aimed at helping the small communities of the British Virgin Islands which are isolated and thus difficult to provide aid to. Organised through Virgin Unite, Branson and the Virgin Group are covering all overheads for the fund meaning 100% of donations go towards the relief effort. Visit virgin.com.
The San Diego-based Waitt Institute has set up a trust to help restore its partner community of Barbuda, 95% of which was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The trust received an initial grant of $100,000 from the Waitt Foundation and is now collecting further funds to help with emergency humanitarian relief and longer term restoration activities. 100% of all donations will go towards helping the community and the Waitt Foundation will match all donations made. Visit donate.icfdn.org.
British Red Cross
If you’ve watched the destruction from across the pond and want to show your support then make a donation to the British Red Cross. Every pound donated by the public will be matched by the British government, up to £3 million, while local Red Cross volunteers are already in place providing first aid, shelter and drinking water to those affected. Visit redcross.org.uk.
No matter where you’re based there are a number of international charities making it possible to donate online in your local currency. Oxfam allows you to donate any amount you see fit and will use your money to provide hygiene kits to stop the spread of disease, provide clean drinking water and build toilet and wash facilities for families made homeless. Visit donate.oxfam.org.uk.
Aimed specifically at helping children whose lives have been turned upside down by Irma, Unicef encourages both monthly and single donations with amounts categorised into the exact cost of specific items. Donate £23, for example, to provide a child with emergency rations for a month while £58 buys emergency water and hygiene kits for two families and £74 helps pay for school supplies to allow 20 children to continue their education during the crisis. Visit unicef.org.uk.
Save the Children
Another campaign formed to protect children and young people affected by the hurricane, Save the Children is appealing for donations to help support its Emergency Health Unit, a surge team of nurses and doctors already in the Caribbean caring for those injured by the storm. Donations will also go towards continued support across all areas for the estimated four million children living in Irma’s path. Visit savethechildren.org.uk.
CARE International is focusing its relief effort of Cuba and Haiti where it has existing relationships and structures in place to enable it provide aid as quickly and efficiently as possible. As well as helping communities prepare before the storm, CARE is no providing drinking water, soap, mattresses, towels, tarpaulins for emergency shelters, hot meals and, later on, materials to help families rebuild their homes. Visit care.org.