CI Shorts: Hurricanes and the strange kindness of strangers
There has been a global outpouring of aid following the massive damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean.
Some of it has been traditional support from official sources. Some has been quirky and Caribbean Intelligence© has been checking out the less expected sources of support:
- UNICEF’s Return to Happiness Centre in Road Town, British Virgin Islands, has been offering activities for young children aged 3-8 who need meals and activity following the storms. However, the food offered by strangers did not immediately work with the little ones and BVI Platinum News reported that some children had started bringing their own lunches. UNICEF Education Officer Enid Scatliffe said: "Maybe if they give the children some more local dishes that they know, it will be better.”
- “Is Jodie Kidd the new Bono?” asked London’s Evening Standard. The tabloid’s Londoner’s Diary said that the model planned to put on her Live Aid-style event to help residents of Dominica, devastated by Hurricane Maria. Commenting at a party being covered by the paper, she said: “Next year I’m going to raise money by doing a concert in my family home in Barbados and try to raise as much money as I possibly can. I wasn’t supposed to be here: I’ve been doing a lot of aid work in Dominica, transporting medical supplies, blood, tarpaulins. They are still without power, still without water.”
- Welsh coastguard, ex-fire service officer and ex-paratrooper Roger Howells was interviewed for Wales Online about his journey to the BVI to help with teams from charities Serve On and Rubicon UK. Wales Online said that after retiring, Mr Howells had been looking for something to do to occupy his time. He described some of his experiences while working there: “When it rained, there was a huge noise of everyone getting outside, because the rain was so severe, everyone would run out with a bottle of shower gel to try and get clean quickly before it stopped. That was a lighter side to the destruction.” On satisfaction levels, he said: “The most rewarding aspect of my time out there was the sense of achievement from fixing the shelters. The most difficult part of the job was when I first got there, looking at all the damage. I just thought, ‘Where do I start?’ That’s why the links with other aid agencies out there are so important.”
- Morocco has been one of the countries reporting on its aid to the Caribbean. The North Africa Post said: “Morocco has sent humanitarian aid to the people of Caribbean Islands of Antigua & Barbuda as well as Dominica which were struck lately by powerful and devastating hurricanes. The Moroccan aid, ordered by King Mohammed VI as a token of solidarity with these friendly countries, includes vital supplies and materials to support the reconstruction efforts. Morocco has always rushed to help those in need and stood by them whenever necessary.”
- The Daily Mail newspaper caught up with the Ducketts, a couple in their 50s, who “quit their jobs and swapped their suburban life for a round-the-world trip” and are now “'dodging hurricanes' and helping devastated victims”. The couple set sail three years ago after their daughter turned 18 and have been loving their yachtie life in the Caribbean. After the hurricanes hit, the couple switched to picking up non-perishable food for families in Dominica and Guadeloupe. They told the Mail: “Most of their homes have just gone. Some are under mudslides and even the ones that are still standing have had to have tarpaulin put over their roofs because they’ve blown off.” They said they’ve even been bringing in sweets at the request of the youngsters on the storm-hit islands. Mark and Tracey Duckett run a blog called comelivethedream.com and their fundraising page is www.gofundme.com/aid-for-people-of-the-caribbean.
- Celebrity aid has been pouring forth for the hurricane-hit Caribbean islands. On the immediate horizon are I Am Caribbean, a benefit concert which will include top regional artistes on 29 October, the Friends of Dominica concert in NYC and Country Rising, which will bring together top US country singers on 12 November.
Would you like to tell us about your aid benefit event for the Caribbean? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
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