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Charity seeks funds for hurricane relief

  • Devastation: electricity poles and lines lay toppled on the road in Humacao, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island. Bacardi has donated $2 million to help the island, which is home to its rum distillery (Photograph by Carlos Giusti/AP)

The West Indian Association is continuing its fundraising efforts to support the Caribbean after the back-to-back impact of major hurricanes.

Several Caribbean islands were devastated by Hurricane Irma earlier this month, with some receiving a second blow from Hurricane Maria a week later.

Delivering an update on relief fundraising efforts, Susan Moore-Williams of the WIA said several further events are planned to raise money to support the restoration process.

“WIA’s strategy has historically been targeted towards more medium to long term objectives,” she said.

“While we continue to liaise with those who are on the ground or who are already involved in immediate rescue and assistance, our focus in the short term is on fundraising activities, the proceeds of which we donate directly into specific projects related to rebuilding communities, health and education projects.”

Saying that the hurricane season is still far from over, Ms Moore-Williams said the WIA will re-evaluate the status of affected countries again at the end of the season to determine where the donated funds would be most effective.

Several fundraising events are on the calender for the coming months, including a telethon on October 12, a family fun day on November 5 and the annual Christmas Round De Caribbean fundraiser on December 9.

“We are also exploring areas of support and collaboration with government and other community partners,” she added, promising further updates in the near future.

Walter Roban, the Acting Premier, said Bermuda has numerous social ties to the Caribbean, adding that when the island was struck by storms, its neighbours to the south stepped forward to help.

“In our own times of crisis, the Caribbean people have come here to help us,” he said. “Through Fabian, through Emily, Caribbean personnel with expertise came to Bermuda to assist with our recovery. It’s fitting that we do what we can because we have received the benefit of their talent when they saw us in need.”

He expressed his support for the work of the WIA and other organisations, urging Bermudians to do what they can to assist.

“We should see the Caribbean as our brothers and sisters, not just other territories to the south,” he said. “We feel that it is just a natural extension of who we are, and that the effort to assist should be something natural.”

Mr Roban said there has been some discussion within government about providing financial support for island’s affected by the recent storms, adding that the Royal Bermuda Regiment are already hard at work in the Turks & Caicos.

• Those interested in making a donation to the West Indian Association, a registered charity, can do so by making a deposit to Bank of Butterfield Account 2000-6060-870030-200, while those who wish to volunteer should contact the charity on wiabda@hotmail.com or on Facebook.