Following immeasurable damage by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico, DPDHL’s Disaster Response Team (DRT) has been deployed to support the island’s recovery. While it is slowly stabilizing, the overall situation on the island has been critical: almost three and a half million affected, the electricity network down and heavy shortages of food and water plus essentials such as fuel. Headed by Gilberto Castro, DHL’s GoHelp Manager Americas and Chris Weeks, Director for Humanitarian Affairs, DPDHL Group, a team of DHL volunteers set up early on, when Puerto Rico was still reeling from the aftermath of the storm. The DRT is now providing facilities, equipment and logistics expertise to help with storage and distribution of relief supplies that come in from all over the world. In addition, DHL Express, which initially ran small feeder flights, has resumed full scale operations, flying much needed supplies to other affected Caribbean islands from bases in Jamaica and Trinidad plus Puerto Rico. DHL volunteers, keen to help, keep arriving to support the DRT operation as the recovery effort widens. As in past deployments to countries such as Nepal and Haiti, the central task of the DRT team in Puerto Rico is to minimize bottlenecks caused by all surges in air cargo at airports near a major natural disaster. The DRT, which has operated in partnership with the United Nations since 2005, has completed more than 30 missions.

In the Caribbean, the team plus DHL Express have already handled the logistics for tens of thousands of relief supplies that are steadily arriving. Life in Puerto Rico and in the Leeward islands of the Caribbean is returning to as normal as possible under the circumstances. People are resuming work where feasible, but power remains off in most residential areas and many living quarters are badly damaged. In addition, in places such as Puerto Rico, the data network is down with no estimated time for repair.

Gilberto Castro commented: “It has been a tough few weeks on the islands, both for residents and for our DHL teams. We could initially only work with generators, satellite phones and temporary radars – but we were there, to help where help was needed, against all odds – that’s the DHL spirit.”  —  Tim Runge


United Nations
UNICEF's donation page to its Hurricane Irma emergency relief fund. Information on how to donate is presented in all languages to all countries.  

CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency)
Hurricanes Irma and Maria resulted in the loss of lives, significant damage to homes and critical infrastructure throughout the impacted islands in CDEMA's Participating States. 
Your donations will provide humanitarian support to the affected populations; purchase relief supplies; and support early recovery and rebuilding efforts in the impacted states.

Global Giving 
All donations to this fund will support recovery and relief efforts for Hurricane Irma. Initially, the fund will help first responders meet survivors' immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Once initial relief work is complete, this fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations responding to this disaster.

OxFam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) 
For more than 30 years, Oxfam has been active in the Caribbean region, where we work hand in hand with local partners to assist people in crisis, while helping affected communities raise their voices to ensure they get appropriate assistance. 100% of funds designated for Hurricane Irma will be used to support relief and recovery efforts for affected areas.

Published: October 2017

Images: DHL