Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Private sector players initiate Dominica relief effort

Published:Friday | September 22, 2017 | 12:11 AMSyranno Baines
Hurricane Maria spared nothing in her path as she tore into sections of the Caribbean.
Vaswani
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In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, a group of private sector players have banded together to alleviate the suffering in Dominica by seeking to collect and donate four container loads of essential products, in addition to raising J$10 million.

Maria made landfall on the Eastern Caribbean Island as a Category 5 storm on Monday, destroying hundreds of homes and cutting off the island’s communication systems, as well as shutting down its two airports.

The storm, which was later downgraded to a Category 4 storm, left at least 15 people dead and more than 20 missing.

“The devastation is unimaginable, so we decided as a group of private sector persons to come together to use our networks to reach out to colleagues and industry partners to lend much-needed assistance,” Director of Quality Incorporations V11 Ltd Krishna Vaswani told The Gleaner.

The executive, who also serves the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association, conceptualised and is spearheading the initiative, which has already started to yield positive results.

COLLABORATIVE EFFORT

“We’re working with persons on the ground here and in Dominica, the shipping lines, members of the disaster management teams over there, as well as the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States members in order to get some products collected here and shipped over there as soon as a sailing schedule is set. All monetary donations will be converted to products because you can’t distribute money. People are more in need of essentials that will get them going until their utility companies are functional once more.”

Vaswani disclosed that Dominica’s status as a small independent nation influenced the decision to provide aid, especially as the larger developed countries were still nursing the wounds inflicted by Hurricane Irma and Harvey.

“Devastation has taken place throughout the United States, British territories, and European territories, so a lot of their resources have been going towards those efforts. As a result, we don’t think the relief effort is going to be as supported because the First World countries and their territories are so stretched. Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico got two hits, then Harvey in Texas, and Irma in Florida, so I said, ‘We’re the Caribbean. We’re one people’,” Vaswani said.

Vaswani further stated that members of Jamaica’s private sector with relationships with private sector leaders in Dominica would collaborate to arrange the distribution of the products to the most devastated areas.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com

Dominica needs your help

Non-perishable food items, clothes, and essential items such as flashlights, batteries, and candles are ideal donations in kind.

Persons may make contributions via First Global Bank account.

Account name: Global Log

Account number: 8616591