the Caribbean needs our help: Hurricane #Irma Relief

Unsplash stock photo. [IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Flight in Europe are listed as a bright color against a dark backdrop, their flight number on the left and their time on the right]

Hurricane Irma, a category 5 hurricane, has already caused massive destruction in the Caribbean and it is predicted that it will continue throughout the weekend. They need our help, and they need it now.

As usual, do not donate to the American Red Cross. Haiti does still not have their money [source] and we’re still not sure how much money is going to Hurricane Harvey Relief [source]. Below are campaigns you can donate toward, fast facts about what is happening, and a call to action. Anything counts, even $1!

Hurricane Irma Sint Maarten Relief Fund — currently at $260
of $10,000 goal at the time of publication.

Barbuda Hurricane Relief Fund — currently at $370 of $10k goal at the time of publication.

St. Maarten Hurricane Relief — currently at $1,705 of $10k goal at the time of publication.


Unsplash stock photo. [IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A red stop sign stands out against a red brick wall, painted with blotches of white and blue. The sign is an octagon and reads “PARE” is all capital letters.]

Fast facts

[Sources include The Guardian and the New York Times:

Antigua and Barbuda

  • Destroyed: “90% of [Barbuda’s] buildings”
  • Homeless: “60% of the population of around 1,400 people”

Anguilla

  • Damaged/destroyed: “‘police stations, hospitals, school facilities, … emergency shelters, a home for the infirm and the aged, … the fire station’, … many homes”

St. Kitts & Nevis

  • Damaged: “‘significant damage’ to property and infrastructure, as well as power failures.”

St. Martin & St. Barts

  • Destroyed: St Maarten — the south side — “95% destroyed”
  • Expecting: Considerable damage to St. Barts

British & U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Damaged: British Virgin Islands — “Significant damage”
  • Damaged: U.S. Virgin Islands —Public health emergency; “extensive damage to buildings … land entirely stripped of vegetation.”

Puerto Rico

  • Damaged: “nearly 300,000 people had lost power … More than 4,000 had lost water service, mostly because of power failures.” Note: as of writing, this number had increased to almost one million, according to NBC News.

The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Florida are at high risk as well.


Unsplash stock photo. [IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A brown-skinned human looks at the camera, the background out of focus. Their eyes are covered by dark sunglasses, they have visible facial hair, they wear a grey had, and a patterned crewneck.]

Call to action

This will be short.

If you’re immobilized emotionally or physically: that is ok. Know that this is ok, valid, and normal.

For those of us able to act, let’s.

We send love, strength, and prayers to friends, family and strangers affected by all of these victims and survivors, but we need action, too: let’s send money. When we cannot send money, let’s take action when see where we can, in whatever capacity we can. And we are the only ones who know our own capacity, so we cannot let guilt pressure us, nor can we let fear stop us. Particularly for places that do not have the resources to rebuild quickly.

When Harvey struck, I began to volunteer my writing and editing in exchange for donations. A few days and multiple articles (1, 2, 3, and 4), rainchecks to edit at a later date, and some pieces in the works later: we raised over $2,000. It may not seem like a lot, but that $2,000 was much more than the $50 I could donate on my own to the Houston Food Bank. And often it went directly to those in need, in real time. So let’s get creative and help each other out. How can we help?

Example of taking action include:

  • Sharing articles/photos/tweets on social media with tangible ways to help, rather than sharing traumatic photos of death and destruction. These photos often leave us feeling more helpless, rather than providing us with tangible solutions.
  • Reposting helpful resources, such as emergency phone numbers, contact information of folks willing to help, and GoFundMe campaigns or other crowdsourcing campaigns.
  • Offering to volunteer our labor. This can be help with legal services, first aid, Amazon wishlists, clerical tasks, and more. We can do this in exchange for donations, taking a task off of someone’s hand and having them use the money they would have spent on helping those with emergency needs.

Whatever those most affected need is whatever we need to find a way to provide. Be well, and if you have anything you’d like me to add to this post feel free to contact me at anthokneesplease [AT] gmail [DOT] com. And if interested, the same offer I made for Harvey relief will apply for Irma relief. Thank you.