Last September much of the Caribbean was decimated by the unthinkable: two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes. Now approaching six months later, many parts of these islands still lack power and electricity. The regional hospital suffered so much damage it was deemed indefinitely inoperable, patients and staff forced to evacuate mid-storm as water and wind broke windows and sent dangerous projectiles into rooms and offices. Major resorts have shut down and charter companies have lost their boats, dramatically affecting tourism, the primary economy for many of these islands.
Six months later, many islanders are still living under blue tarps. Those who have lost homes have moved in with other families. Islanders are stretched thin, sharing already scarce resources. Linemen sent to repair and restore electricity across the islands, receive a hero’s welcome and VIP treatment. Priorities have changed. Day-to-day survival, relief, recovery and rebuilding have become the unifying factor across the economically and culturally diverse population of the Virgin Islands.
Elikya Connect is adopting the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean to its long-term, ongoing support endeavors. We’ve already helped collect much needed supplies to send on a container to the U.S. Virgin Islands in months immediately following the two Category 5 hurricanes that ripped apart the entire region.
With your help, we hope to head to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the next few weeks for a multifaceted outreach endeavor. Our objectives include the following:
1. Relief Work – Will physically assist with a team providing relief and rebuilding support on the island of St. John from Feb 19-24
2. Help raise awareness of existing and viable organizations making a difference in the aftermath of these disasters. Create a comprehensive list of who is doing what.
3. Circulate this information to appropriate entities like Volunteer VI. (Volunteer VI was started by our founder when she lived and worked in the Virgin Islands several years ago. It currently serves as a self-sustaining forum with over 700 members, connecting islanders with ways to help various needs around the islands.)
4. Document current situation and needs for circulation to media and use by above identified organizations. This is particularly critical as in many disasters, incoming aid and assistance starts to wane about six months after the catastrophe.
5. Support personal contacts and individuals with property and home repairs, etc. as opportunities arise.
Unfortunately, food and transportation costs on island are extremely high as resources are limited throughout these battered islands. We plan to bring a small amount of additional supplies in additional luggage if possible.
Our immediate financial need for this 3+ week trip is $2500. Will you consider financially supporting this journey and / or the ongoing work of Elikya Connect? Your help makes a world of difference!
Gifts are tax-deductible and will receive a receipt from our 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor, The Cause. Just click the Donate button above. Thank you so much for your support!
Photo by Melissa Rogatti, a long-time V.I. resident. “Daughter walking dog in the ‘new normal’.”