Hurricane Irma was the most powerful hurricane to hit the Atlantic Ocean in recorded history.
While we are relieved that much of the Caribbean region was largely unaffected by the hurricane, our thoughts are with the Leeward and northern Caribbean islands that lay in the hurricane’s path and all those whose lives have been affected by it.
The full extent of the damage to the islands is still being assessed, but it is clear that Barbuda, St Barts, St Martin / St Maarten, Anguilla, the BVI, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Haiti, parts of the Turks & Caicos Islands and Cuba sustained significant damage to private homes, government buildings and infrastructure.
Those affected will need significant support to get back on their feet.
Supporting Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts in the Caribbean
A range of local, regional and international organizations are well positioned to support relief efforts but are in need of support, primarily in the form of financial donations.
So, if you’re wondering how you can help, here are a few ways to support relief efforts in the Caribbean.
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA)
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is a regional inter-governmental agency established in 1991 by an Agreement of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM (Caribbean Community).
The CDEMA has set up an Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) to provide Hurricane Irma relief and donations are being accepted by bank transfer.
Follow this link to make a donation to the Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF).
The Red Cross
The Red Cross already has volunteers on the ground providing first aid, shelter and water to those in need.
Both the British Red Cross and the American Red Cross have set up a Hurricane Irma Appeal to support these efforts.
Follow this link to donate to the British Red Cross Hurricane Irma Appeal.
Follow this link to donate to the American Red Cross Hurricane Irma Appeal.
West India Committee – Anguilla
The West India Committee, a UK charity established in the City of London in 1735, is requesting donations to support the island of Anguilla.
Follow this link to donate to the West India Committee’s Anguilla Appeal.
Rebuild Barbuda Appeal Fund
The Antigua & Barbuda High Commission in London is working with The Ascension Trust to collect donations.
Follow this link to donate to the Rebuild Barbuda Appeal Fund.
BVI Relief Fund
The London office of the BVI Government has set up the BVI Recovery Fund to help raise money for those affected by Hurricane Irma in the British Virgin Islands.
Follow this link to donate to the BVI Relief Fund.
Virgin Unite – BVI Community Support Appeal
Virgin Unite, the charitable group established by The Virgin Group and BVI resident Richard Branson, has set up an appeal to support people affected by the hurricane in the BVI.
The organization’s overheads are fully covered by The Virgin Group and Richard Branson. As a result 100% of all donations will support local communities in the BVI.
Follow this link to donate to Virgin Unite’s BVI Community Support Appeal.
Continue to Visit
As one of the most tourism-dependent regions in the world, the Caribbean will need ongoing support to help it rebuild. Besides making a financial donation, one of the most valuable ways people can support the Caribbean is by continuing to visit.
It will take months, potentially years, for some of the most severely affected parts of the Leeward Islands and the northern Caribbean to recover.
However, some locations have already begun to reopen airports, return to normal operations and get back to business as usual and much of this vast region spanning 700 islands across 2.7 million square kilometers either sustained minimal damage or was entirely unaffected by the hurricane.
So, please continue to visit and enjoy all that makes the Caribbean such a unique and special place.