|VI raised $427k for Haiti (April 29, 2010)|
|Written by By JASON SMITH|
|Friday, 18 February 2011 14:58|
“They start to clean up. Families get back together. Life goes on,” he said.
Mr. Avril, who lives here, was volunteering his time to distribute food, water and medical supplies gathered by Virgin Islands residents. In the three-and-a-half months since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the impoverished country, hundreds of individuals across the territory have contributed to several relief efforts, raising more than $427,000 in cash and thousands of pounds of supplies.
The groups’ methods of delivering assistance varied. Small foundations and large organisations, grassroots groups and private efforts were all vehicles VI residents used to help Haitians recover from one of the region’s worst disasters in recent memory.
Mr. Avril, a member of the Haitian Association who was working with the BVI Haiti Disaster Relief Effort, said that the Haitian people are appreciative of the efforts.
“People come together, and we’re very grateful for the assistance we’ve received so far,” he said.
At a press conference held yesterday morning, members of the territory’s Rotary clubs had similar words of thanks for the community’s generosity.
“Our Haitian brothers and sisters said, ‘Merci, merci, BVI’ on behalf of all the victims and beneficiaries of the aid received in Haiti,” said Vance Lewis, Rotary’s assistant district governor in the VI.
Of the $270,000 the clubs raised following the quake, $93,790 has been sent to Haiti and used to buy medical supplies, tents and emergency equipment, Mr. Lewis said. The remaining $177,000 will be spent on longer-term rehabilitation efforts. He called the effort “unprecedented.”
In addition to those funds, the groups sent four volunteer doctors to work in hospitals near Port-au-Prince, and thousands of pounds of relief supplies.
Mr. Lewis said that the Rotary district, of which VI and Haitian clubs belong, also will be sending more than $50,000 worth of seeds to assist the agricultural industry, rebuilding 30 schools, and assisting in efforts to provide artificial limbs for thousands injured in the earthquake. He called the response a long-term effort without an end date.
BVI Red Cross, gov’t
Fundraising efforts also continue at the BVI Red Cross, where at least $51,000 has been raised, according to Denise Gardener, the organisation’s disaster coordinator. She said earlier this month that aid is still coming in, albeit slowly. The money raised is directed to the British Red Cross.
According to Mandy George, a spokeswoman for the British Red Cross, the VI’s donations will go toward logistics and sanitation efforts throughout the country.
“Shelter distributions led by the Red Cross have also seen tarpaulins, tents and plastic sheeting put into the hands and over the heads of around 100,000 people a week,” she wrote in a statement.
The VI government’s response, which included an $80,000 donation, went to immediate lifesaving and health operations, said Sharleen DaBreo, director of the Department of Disaster Management. Those funds were distributed through the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency, CDEMA, which is the disaster response arm of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM.
In the weeks after the earthquake, DDM had identified about 20 government and community officials to put on standby, but they were not called, the DDM director said. Three individuals, however, were sent to help rescue survivors trapped under collapsed buildings, and about $20,000 worth of medical supplies were donated from Peebles Hospital, she added.
Ms. DaBreo said that because the community’s fundraising and disaster response efforts were focused by a few groups, they were more effective and avoided duplication of efforts.
“We think that’s a fantastic effort. Relief efforts of this kind need to be coordinated effectively,” she said.
She said that CDEMA is planning a regional meeting at the end of May to discuss the relief efforts.
While government’s response focused on immediate effects, other groups hope to contribute to the long-term rebuilding effort.
With that aim in mind, the BVI Humanitarian Relief Consortium was founded in the weeks after the quake struck. The consortium, an effort of the BVI Red Cross, the Lion’s Club and several national associations, plans to choose medium- and long-term projects in Haiti, said Carvin Malone, the group’s chairman. He said no specific projects have been chosen, but the group raised an estimated $5,500 at its kick-off fundraiser in April.
Some of the territory’s relief efforts have focused on outlying areas in Haiti that weren’t directly affected by the quake. The Good Samaritan Foundation of Haiti, an organisation founded by VI resident Michael “Beans” Gardner, has singled out Ile-a-Vache, an island southwest of the Haitian mainland, as the recipient of its funds.
The area’s population 15,000 of quickly doubled to 30,000 as refugees have sought shelter there, Mr. Gardner said. Additionally, the food distribution networks centred in Port-au-Prince were severely disrupted after the quake. Some sailors loaded their vessels with food to support the communities there, he said.
“The only relief that’s been received in these outer islands had been private relief efforts. For most people it’s been sailors,” he said.
Though some food is getting through three months later, it’s not enough to support everyone, he added.
He said that long before the quake hit, his group was working to build a school to serve 200 students on Ile-a-Vache. The Rotary Club of Tortola is working with the group to raise $100,000 for that project. It is planning a fundraising event on May 8 at Myett’s at Cane Garden Bay.
|Last Updated on Monday, 07 March 2011 20:03|