PWRDF announces $40K for hurricane-stricken Cuba, Haiti

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Children make their way along a flooded road in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, September 8, after Hurricane Irma brought heavy rains to the island. Photo: © UNICEF/Bradley

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is committing $40,000 to help those stricken by Hurricane Irma in Cuba and Haiti, it announced Tuesday, September 12.

PWRDF is putting aside $20,000 for an appeal for Cuba expected to be announced by the ACT Alliance, a network of faith-based aid groups of which PWRDF is a member. The agency is allocating another $10,000 for the Episcopal Church of Cuba and $10,0000 for a request for rapid-response funds from the Haiti ACT Alliance forum, PWRDF said.

Hurricane Irma, the most powerful storm to have swept the Caribbean in a decade, passed through several Caribbean islands and into Florida and other southeast U.S. states from September 5 into early this week, when it finally dissipated. As of Wednesday, September 13, 61 people were reported to have died as a result of the hurricane.

On some islands concerns are mounting about shortages of food and water. Although the eye of the hurricane passed north of Haiti,18,000 families in northern Haiti are estimated to have lost their crops as a result of the heavy rains. Floods caused significant destruction in Cuba.

A number of Christian aid organizations, including Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), the Anglican Alliance and the United Society Partners in the Gospel, have been working to provide relief to people affected by the hurricane.

“Describing the storm as a Category 5 just does not represent the true horror,” Anglican Alliance co-director Rachel Carnegie told the Anglican Communion News Service. “This is a whole new reality…The challenge now is to get food and water to people. Our concern is also to care for the carers— everyone is traumatised.”

ACT Alliance members active in these countries are continuing to assess relief needs and consult with local government agencies and other organizations, PWRDF said. PWRDF is also expecting a rapid response fund will be set up to relieve people stricken by the hurricane in the Dominican Republic.

Because ACT does not have a presence in the smaller hurricane-stricken Caribbean islands, it remains uncertain whether it will fund relief efforts there. For the moment, the agency is waiting for more details on the situation on these islands from partners within the ACT Alliance or other trusted networks, said PWRDF humanitarian response co-ordinator Naba Gurung.

“Lots of info is yet to be revealed, and recovery will take years,” Gurung said.

PWRDF said it’s also accepting donations to help those stricken by an earthquake that struck Mexico’s south coast September 7. As of Tuesday, September 12, 95 people were reported to have been killed by the quake, the strongest to have hit Mexico in a century.

Donations to PWRDF can be made online, by phone at 416-924-9192 ext. 355 or 1-866-308-7973 or by mail. Donors wanting to contribute toward Hurricane Irma relief specifically should write “Hurricane Irma” on their cheques, or select “Hurricane Irma” from the Canada Helps drop-down menu if donating online; those wishing to contribute toward relief efforts for victims of the Mexico earthquake should write “Emergency Response” on their cheques, or select “Emergency Response” from the drop-down menu.

Mailed cheques should be sent to:

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
80 Hayden Street
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 3G2

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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