Like the rest of the world, we have been following Hurricane Irma with fearful anticipation. On September 6, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 hurricane, demolished Antigua and Barbuda, with a damage estimation at 90% destruction of the dual island nation’s infrastructure. Many caribbean islands found themselves in the path of Hurricane Irma and those that did not, still felt the impact of the of the powerful storm. Like that was not enough, our hearts are in our throats as we watch Hurricane Jose develop as a Category 4 hurricane in Irma’s shadow and tread a similar path.
We as an organization have been tied to this region of the world since our initial response to the Haiti earthquake in 2009. Now again we watch as another natural disaster bears down, this time focusing on our friends in both the British and US Virgin Islands, the French Caribbean, and other island chains. Our Founder, Jon Rose says of the tragedy that “we are launching a full scale relief initiative for the Caribbean Islands that were ravaged by Irma. We have personal friends who lost everything and thousands more that are in dire need of help. Clean water is at the very peak of what’s needed most and our program speaks directly to that need.”
Together with colleagues, we are launching an emergency response initiative to provide access to clean drinking water to the Virgin Islands and the French Caribbean. Because we understand that the first few weeks are crucial in stemming the spread of waterborne diseases and dehydration, our plan is to launch our response in three phases. The intent of the first phase is to provide immediate relief to the most vulnerable families by distributing water filtration systems in regions where residents are living at or below the poverty line. After we have addressed the immediate need for clean water, phase two will serve to develop sustainable solutions to address breakdowns in water infrastructure through the creation of large and centrally-located water filtration systems. The third and final phase will analyze data that has been compiled throughout our response initiative and will design long-term mechanisms to change the way water is accessed, such as rainwater harvesting or wells.
Together with our local team Ben Bourgeois, Jimmy Wilson, Otto Flores and Dylan Graves, we at Waves For Water are coming to you to ask for whatever support you can give so we can bring relief to suffering populations affected by this set of hurricanes. As always, we are grateful to all of you who have supported us through the years and are honored to have a network that is as devoted as we are to helping people.