One of the strongest storms ever recorded in Atlantic,
Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean and Florida last week and
weekend. At her strongest, she was a Category 5 storm with winds around 185
miles per hour and left much
destruction in her wake, major yachting communities not excluded. From the
ravaged British and U.S. Virgin Islands to the destruction of Barbuda, here’s
how you and your fellow yachties can assist with relief efforts.
Chief Stewardess Megan Runyon of M/Y Dorothea III has been working with her fellow crew and YachtAid
Global (YAG) in trying to coordinate a way to provide resources to those in
desperate need. “YAG has worked hard to facilitate communication to assess the
needs of the islands and has staged cargo in various locations around the
Caribbean as well as in Southern California and Fort Lauderdale,” she
says. “The issue is getting these resources to the islands in an orderly
and effective manner. Currently, we are attempting to help these efforts
by bringing supplies to some of the less populated, often forgotten about, islands
in the Southern Caribbean.”
If your yacht can help transit cargo ready to go to those in
need or donate to YAG so they can properly allocate those supplies, head
here. YAG is also looking for on-the-ground volunteering for those who wish
to aid a specific location.
You can also support the Caribbean Tourism Recovery Fund.
Cristina Bernardini, director of business development at
Christophe Harbour, told Boat International, “The marina at Christophe Harbour
is open and available to provide fuel for vessels in need as well as berthing
services for those displaced by the storm. We have also partnered with YachtAid
Global and are its regional base of operations for helping our neighbors in
They have received an outpouring of support, accommodations,
and transport services requests from neighboring islands and are coordinating
relief efforts with the government and other stakeholders, including the
Department of Maritime Affairs and St. Kitts Nevis Chamber of Industry and
Former yachtie and owner of Mango Yacht Services Kevin Lawrie says, "There is a lot of devastation everywhere on my little rock of St. Barths. Yes, there a lot of wealthy people who visit, but the reality is...hardworking individuals who are not millionaires have lost some or everything due to this hurricane."
To help, donate to this fundraiser that Lawrie is working with. "They were the first group on the ground with generators, food, water, work gloves, solar chargers, etc.," he says. "More stuff is arriving today [September 15] and then another load with myself next week...whatever you can is appreciated."
The U.S. Marines Twitter page stated, “More than 1,100
Marines are providing support to the victims of Hurricane Irma. They’re armed
with 35 aircraft, 54 wheeled or tracked vehicles, and 28 Zodiacs. They are able
to support with search and rescue operations, providing purified water, aerial
reconnaissance, and distributing medical technicians and equipment.”
After spending a lot of time in the Virgin Islands, having a
lot of friends there, and hearing firsthand about its destruction following
Irma, crewmember Lizelle van der Walt decided to create a fundraiser for St.
Thomas and St. John. “I am sure a lot of yacht crew are also feeling that they
want to help the people affected there,” she says. Proceeds from the fundraiser
will send a shipping container of emergency donations on Wednesday, September
20, to the VI Relief Organization in St. Thomas. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you
would like to donate.
You can also donate to this GoFundMe;
the organizers are establishing a transportation chain to get supplies to St.
Thomas and St. John from St. Croix via Caribbean Sea Adventures, QE4, Big
Beards, the Crucian Navy, and Water Spirit. “They are doing a great job, even
packing hundreds of lunch boxes a day!” says van der Walt.
Former crewmember Jody Olson, former deck/stew on M/Y D’Natalin IV and M/Y Arioso and former deckhand on M/Y Harle, is from St. Thomas. She has
designed #VIstrong t-shirts to purchase — $25 for short sleeves and $31 for
long sleeves. One hundred percent of profits will go to the Community
Foundation of the Virgin Islands to help rebuild what was lost. Buy
Meanwhile, U.S. Virgin Island national and retired NBA star
Tim Duncan is organizing relief through youcaring.com
by chartering a plane full of supplies to St. Croix, the largest town in the
U.S. Virgin Islands. He donated the first $250,000 to the campaign and pledged
to match every donated dollar up to the first $1 million.
Richard Branson also set up a fund to help small, isolated
communities of the British Virgin Islands that are difficult to provide aid to.
Branson and the Virgin Group are covering all overheads for the fund, which
means 100 percent of donations will go toward relief effort. Visit virgin.com.
Yacht agent Earl Wyatt told Boat International Media, “Do
not give up on St. Maarten as yet. We have done this before and bounce back
quicker than a lot has imagined.”
Capt. Lucille Frye of BWA organized a boat to bring supplies
in and will be purchasing supplies and collecting donations from other islands
to ship in to assist with medical supplies, food, clothing, and bedding. Along
with her co-fundraisers, she plans to use the money as directly as possible to
buy the most needed supplies, which will be distributed to St. Maarten first. Donate here.
Communications company Axxess Marine also started an emergency relief fund, and you can help the animals of St. Maarten by donating to SXM Paws relief.
The K1 Britannia Foundation has been working tirelessly to aid in whatever way they can, from food and water distribution to helping rebuild daycares and schools. They will be raising awareness at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show about the state of the islands and the foundation's projects to help the communities get back on their feet. To get involved or donate, head to www.k1britanniafoundation.org or www.responseteam.ch.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua got away with minimal damage, but Barbuda was
essentially devastated — Prime Minister Gaston Browne cited to the media that
it will cost no less than $150 million to repair infrastructure and the homes
on the island.
They are raising a significant amount of resources to
rebuild the island. Aid for Barbuda arrived in Antigua on September 8 in the
form of three cargo planes carrying more than 54 tonnes of hurricane relief.
The San-Diego-based Waitt Institute has set up a trust to
help restore its partner community of Barbuda. The trust received an initial
grant of $100,000 from the Waitt Foundation and is collecting further funds to
help with emergency humanitarian relief and long-term restoration. One hundred
percent of donations will help the community, and the Waitt Foundation will
match all donations. Visit donate.icfdn.org.
Turks and Caicos
According to the Department of Disaster Management and
Emergencies (DDME), the process for engaging the TCI Government to donate
relief items is as follows:
“1. An official letter providing the list of items,
quantities, values, port origin, and proposed schedule time for arrival in the
2. An official letter providing names of all persons, along
with copies of his/her respective passport bio-data page
3. Any other supporting information”
Once receiving the information, the DDME will process the
documents and respond with necessary clearance. Contact ddme@email@example.com for any additional
Cuba and Haiti
CARE International is providing drinking water, soap,
mattresses, towels, tarpaulins for emergency shelters, and hot meals for
shelters as well as materials to help families rebuild their homes. Donate at care.org.
While not affected by Irma, Barbados is serving as a
distributing hub for delivering medical reserves, rations, clean water, and
emergency shelter kits to islands in need, thanks to the help of the Royal Marines.
Betty Cathrow, marketing manager of Blue Sky Luxury, told
Boat International, “As an organization, we are gathering what we can and
working with some of our homeowners who are making donations to support the
rebuilding of these islands. We are also putting together an appeal to allow
any of our incoming guests to contribute to the relief effort by way of
bringing a small ‘pack’ of items with them when they visit, which we will
ensure goes to one of the relief organizations.”
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and the Barbados Hotel
Tourism Association, as well as other individuals, are also banding together to
gather needed supplies for the islands.
While Grenada remained untouched, Camper & Nicholsons’
Port Louis Marina in Grenada is actively helping in a relief effort with
supplies leaving the marina to reach destinations in the north. While they are
no longer taking in donated goods, linens, clothes, non-perishable foods,
bottled water, first aid supplies, nappies, and baby formula are being
collected at a number of points, including the True Blue Hotel and the SSU Camp
at Point Salines International Airport.
The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers to help
coordinate on-the-ground relief efforts, from serving food and providing comfort
to unloading supplies and setting up emergency facilities. You can also donate
$10 to 1,000 online and via mail or phone. Visit redcross.org.
The Hurricane Irma Appeal is dedicated solely to those
affected in Florida, using 100 percent of donations to provide emergency
shelter, deliver short-term food parcels, and help those who lost everything.
The following charities are taking donations for Irma relief
The British Red Cross will match up to £3
million for every pound donated by the public. Local Red Cross
volunteers are already stationed to provide first aid, shelter, and drinking
water. Visit redcross.org.uk
Oxfam allows you to donate any amount and will use the money
to provide hygiene kits and clean drinking water and build toilet and wash
facilities for families without a home. Donate.oxfam.org.uk
Save the Children is taking donations to help support its
Emergency Health Unit in the Caribbean caring for those injured by the storm.
Donations will go towards support across all areas for the four million
children living in Irma’s path. Savethechildren.org.uk
Best Friends Animal Society is providing help for the
animals of Hurricane Irma. Bestfriends.org
If you are working on relief efforts not mentioned above,
please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Facebook/SMN News