Tips and Resources for Hurricane Disaster Recovery

We all can help the Caribbean nations recover from the one the worlds worst hurricane disaster. Fierce winds have the potential to tear the islands apart. It has been inconceivable. Throughout the Caribbean, islands are ruined. Dominica, know as ‘Natures Island’, is ravaged. Its rain-forests, lush valleys and mountains left bare. Its landscape now littered and barren, reduced to an infertile field.

Nobody, not even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were able to know the absolute power and the ruthless destruction that would be brought on by the hurricane. What is exceptional in 2017 is that there were two Force 4 and two Force 5 hurricanes in just one month. Three major hurricanes hit the same region in 3 weeks, as Maria, Irma and Jose did in the Caribbean

Global warming has been blamed for the enormous strength and fury of these tropical depressions. While is not confirmed that climate change is the reason why we have more storm develop in the Caribbean now that ever before, the warmer oceans clearly has amplified the strength and frequency of the hurricanes. The uncomfortable reality is that ocean temperature is now just under the critical .4 ° C change that signals a doubling of extreme storms. The total rise in temperature over the last thirty-five years is about 0.32 ° C. That is pretty close to the 0.4 ° C pivot point. 

The Facts About Hurricane Disasters

Immediately after being struck by a hurricane, there may be dangerous flooding, uprooted trees strewn across buildings and also impeding access, roofs will be blown off and many houses utterly wiped out. There may be no safe and clean water, no food, no shops, no power and no radio or communication. Ports may be closed and an island will be isolated.

“Dominica is alive with government aid and civilian volunteers from all over the Caribbean, and from Canada, England, the USA, France, Germany and many European countries. Chain saws cut trees that block road, burly men and women in dungarees push and shove barrels of rubble and bulldozers plow the roads. People are building back their homes with sticks and shovels while the world sends in tools and supplies. There are agriculturalist planting in the bare land and aborists saving what the can of fallen trees. Even make shift saw mills are considered to reuse the wood for building. The Bare and sorry land has a vibrant spirit of resilience in spite of the devastating loss.” Source: irclay, AidDominica.

Your Skills are Needed

Volunteer Agencies are always looking for particular skills needed in the rescue efforts. Medical people, like doctors and nurses, are always welcome. After a hurricane, there is a need for all forms of skills including engineers, arborists, construction trade people electricians and people of every skill.

Naturally not all organizations are created alike, and you do need to check it out prior to signing up. In addition you need to be sure that your skills are what they need. Every situation is unique. Often a region will have a lot of volunteers by people with a particular skills and few for another skill that is critical.

Give Your Time

You will find that most islands have country consulates who may have special arrangements with regional charities in your country. Check with them about the destination you want to fund as they can advise you of any special arrangement that may apply.

The international aid organizations, such as the RedCross, are easy to contact. They do not however assure you that your donations will get to the specific region you designate, as it is a universal aid service and they choose how it is allocated. But it is often tax deductible and in some cases, such as in The United Kingdom, the government will match your gift.

Best Practices for Giving

If you are planning to partner with a donation organisation or a volunteering group, remember that aid is not a flash in the pan. It is a long term obligation and is going to be around for as long as it is needed. Keep in mind that Disaster recovery needs vary with time. So, it’s important to be informed as to what is changing.

As an example, Dominica lost its only source of communications when battery power ran out. Amateur radio enthusiasts manned the only communications on the island with ham radio equipment powered by consumer batteries that soon ran dry. The Foundation for Amateur International Radio Service  (FAIRS) “donated equipment to restore country-wide amateur radio communication on Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.” Source – FAIRS.

Donor Relief Forums

There are many global disaster recovery, relief, response and help forums with a presence on the Internet. However, not many are specific to an existing disaster or a current region. Search for “Dominica Forum” or any destination forum and you will see many travel holiday websites such as TripAdvisor pop-up displaying information of where to stay and ratings of resorts. Even a Google search for forums on a specific island disaster will display many news sites with few real-time interactive disaster recover messaging services. The issue is that the effected destination has generally had a systems failure and often, the people in most need cannot access the Net.

Disaster Recovery Help Forums

How Do You Help Recovery from a Hurricane Disaster