Hurricane Update – Caribbean Destinations and how you can Help
Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused catastrophic damage to many islands in the Caribbean, some of the hardest hit locations are U.S. territories including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to St. Maarten/St. Martin, the British Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Dominica. It will take months, if not years for these beautiful places to fully recover. In many cases, the large part of the income for these places is from tourism. There are a number of charities that are accepting donations of funds to assist in recovery and rebuilding. Some are as follows: United for Puerto Rico (undiosporpuertorico.com/en) which was set up by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló; All Hands Volunteers (hands.org); and One America Appeal (oneamericaappeal.org), which was established by the five living former Presidents of the United States. Additionally, you can consider becoming a volunteer. A few organizations are Puerto Rico VOAD (https://prvoad.communityos.org/cms/irma), AmeriCares (www.americares.org) and Habitat for Humanity (www.habitat.org) among others. Volunteers will be needed for months to come, and if you’re willing to help, you may need to be patient for a while as needs are assessed. As always, when you’re thinking about contributing to various charities, it’s good to investigate them to be sure that the bulk of funds will actually reach those in need. Also, you may have friends, neighbors or relatives who have friends and family in one of the affected areas. You might be able to reach over your fence and lend support to someone directly. Frequent travelers can also donate their surplus air miles or even hotel miles to enable volunteers to get into the area to enable additional relief workers help with the recovery and rebuilding. Check with your carrier for more details and how to go about donating your miles. Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane with 150+ mile an hour winds. This was after the storm battered Dominica and St. Croix. The temperatures are hot, the airports are still not 100% operational and the situation is dire. Food, water and fuel are in short supply and it’s very difficult for supplies to get to the islands. Puerto Rico and the USVI were beautiful places and it will take a very long time for them to get back to normal. In fact, the new “normal” may be vastly different than it was in the past. Please consider reaching out to your fellow United States citizens and lend a hand. The opinions expressed above are those of the author of this post and are not necessarily those of Luggage Factory.