On September 5-6, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda before moving on to hit the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the Bahamas. The record-breaking Category 5 hurricane was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record, and it rendered thousands homeless.
Just a couple weeks after Hurricane Irma caused so much damage in the Leeward Islands, Hurricane Maria quickly strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane before smashing the island nation of Dominica with 160 mph winds and heavy rain. Several mudslides occurred as the hurricane destroyed 90% of buildings on the island, littering it with structural debris. The hurricane also pummeled straight into Puerto Rico, which caused extensive damage and knocked out its electrical grid. Now, 3.4 million residents could be facing a humanitarian crisis as officials say power could be off for moths. A major dam's structural integrity was compromised, and now it's threatening to collapse.
The hurricanes have caused damage of historic proportions. For the first time in 300 years, the entire island of Barbuda (of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda) is uninhabited, as its 1,800 now homeless residents fled to Antigua. Irma's 185 mph winds knocked out 95% of its infrastructure. In Dominica, 98% of all buildings have suffered damage, and many are beyond repair. In Puerto Rico, 3.4 million residents are still struggling to access electricity and water after its grid collapsed.
The gravity of the devastation calls for an immediate and long-term response to rebuild what was destroyed by the hurricanes.
PADF will work alongside local organizations to rebuild more resilient communities that are capable of withstanding and responding to future extreme weather events. Since first responding to disasters 55 years ago, we have developed a strong network of partners in the Caribbean that work with local communities to recover from disastrous events.
Now, you can be part of the disaster response. Monetary donations help alleviate immediate disaster-related needs, like locally-purchased water, food and supplies. Please donate to be a vital part of the Caribbean's effort to recover from these catastrophic storms.