Since the initial eruption of the St Vincent Volcano, La Soufrière, and the Grenadines on Friday, April 9, a number of Caribbean diaspora organizations, businesses, and individuals have mobilized to build a network of support to provide relief to victims on the island. The continuous eruptions have blanketed large portions of the island, as well as neighboring island Barbados, with heavy ash and threats of pyroclastic flows (fast-moving current of hot gas and volcanic matter) to surrounding communities. As a result of the volcanic activity, thousands of residents have been evacuated to local shelters or neighboring islands and are likely to be displaced long term.
As previously done in support of the recovery from Hurricane Maria, the US Caribbean Strong network has been activated to support a multitude of relief efforts across the diaspora in securing priority relief supplies, mobilizing volunteers for transporting and packaging supplies, collaborating with local private sector and governmental partners, and fundraising to underwrite efforts to aid those impacted by the St Vincent Volcano.
“We must mobilize in a coordinated and efficient manner to effectively expedite the priority supplies to the most needy and vulnerable on the island. Each person and organization can contribute in their own way with money, volunteer time, supplies from home or shopping, and personal relationships with the capacity to help. Our family and friends in St Vincent need us urgently,” Marlon Hill, US Caribbean Strong organizer.
Supplies Needed For St Vincent Volcano Relief
To date, the following relief supplies are the highest priority: bottled water, N95 masks, goggles, toiletries/sanitary/dignity kits, first aid kits, medicine – aspirin, pepto bismol, nebulizer/asthma pumps/etc., sleeping bags, blankets pillows, mats, towels, baby wipes/foods/diapers, batteries/flashlights/solar lanterns, sleeping bags, blankets pillows, and mats. Clothing and basic food items are not the highest priority at this time. Several relief events are being organized and hosted throughout South Florida to collect supplies. Volunteers are needed to assist with sorting, packing, pickup and delivery, and more. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up to do so online.
“Our message to every Vincy, you are not alone, we the Caribbean are with you now and always, near and far away. You are in our prayers and please know that every Caribbean person in the Caribbean and around the world has come together like never before to assist all who have been affected by the volcano one way or the other. It is a proud moment for the Caribbean diaspora, working together, helping one another and most importantly speaking with one voice! Together, we are Caribbean Strong!” exclaimed Consul General Gilbert Boustany, Antigua & Barbuda, in Miami.
U.S. Caribbean Strong has partnered with the Miami Foundation to create a relief fund for those impacted by the St Vincent volcano, financial contributions can be made securely at http://give.miamifoundation.org/volcanorelief.
“Natural disasters are extremely disheartening, however as part of living in the tropics it is an inevitability – not if, but when. The purpose of Caribbean Strong is to aggregate and streamline geographically dispersed disaster relief efforts to get help faster and easier to those who need it most. Right now that’s all hands on deck for St. Vincent and the Grenadines; help is on the way!” – Devin St. Hilaire, US Caribbean Strong organizer.
U.S. Caribbean Strong partners and collaborators include, but are not limited to the Caribbean Consular Corps of Miami, Miami Broward Carnival, South Florida Carnival Bandleaders Association, Caribbean Bar Association, Florida Caribbean Students Association, South Florida Caribbean Promoters, South Florida Caribbean business owners, Food for the Poor, Janice Lyttle Foundation, Global Empowerment mission, Red Cross of South Florida, among others.
US Caribbean Strong is a global network of Caribbean diaspora community organizations, businesses and individuals committed to the coordination of an efficient response to disaster events in the Caribbean region and within global Caribbean diaspora communities.