One year ago the Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Irma – one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. Only weeks later followed Hurricane Maria. The aftermath was devastating: millions were affected, buildings and infrastructure were badly damaged, electricity networks were down and inhabitants faced heavy shortages of food and water. The hard times showed the strength of the people in the region – read more in the inspiring stories below.

 

Jhadazia Lennard is an inspirational teenager from the British Virgin Islands who started her own school after hers was closed due to damage from Hurricane Irma. It was always her dream to become a teacher, so she decided to take it upon herself to start up a school for the children in her community. “Now every night I stay up late with a flashlight and write lesson plans and worksheets for them,” comments Lennard.

 

Last September we talked to Reiner Wolfs, Managing Director for DHL Express in the Caribbean who talked about resilience of his team. He also talked about Ivan, a DHL gateway employee in St. Maarten. After the storm had passed, the first thing he did was to go to his closet and look for his DHL uniform because he wanted to get back to work as soon as possible. His closet had been blown away – but there he was, reporting for duty. People like him were crucial for recovery.

 

Following immeasurable damage by Hurricane Maria to Puerto Rico, DPDHL’s Disaster Response Team (DRT) was deployed to support the island’s recovery. The group of volunteers provided help where it was badly needed: providing facilities, equipment and logistics expertise to help with storage and distribution of relief supplies that come in from all over the world.

While life in the Caribbean islands hit by the hurricanes has since stabilized, there is still much to be done. If you would like to support efforts, here’s a selection of organizations to which you can make a donation.

United Nations
UNICEF’s relief fund to help respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Global Giving
Once initial relief work is complete, this fund transitions to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local, vetted organizations responding to this disaster.

OxFam (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief) 
100 percent of funds designated for Hurricane Irma are being used to support relief and recovery efforts for affected areas.

Published: September 2018

Images: DHL; private