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The eruption of the La Soufrière volcano in early April has impacted thousands of residents in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, devastating agriculture and infrastructure in parts of the island.
With most of those evacuated needing immediate assistance, the United Nations says some South Florida organizations are offering aid and seeking donations.
On Tuesday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves appealed to UN member countries for help with the recovery of his country.
“It’s an extraordinary, existential challenge that is facing us,” Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves and the UN is seeking nearly $29.2 million in assistance to fund six months of recovery work. The island’s recovery will cost “many millions of dollars and we’re not talking about just tens of millions. It’s going to be in excess of that,” Gonsalves said.
Scientists estimate more than 100 cubic meters of ash was emitted by the volcano and the eruptions could go on for six months or more.
About 20,000 people were evacuated; crops on the northern third of the island have been destroyed leading to a water shortage; and two of the island’s five hospitals had to be evacuated.
“The damage is great, our needs are many, but we will get through this together,” Gonsalves said.
In recent days, the island-nations of St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica have each pledged $1 million Eastern Caribbean Dollars, or $370,000 US dollars.
While the government is strongly encouraging cash donations to allow the island-nation’s 110,00 people to purchase items in the country, he said that duty free concessions on shipped barrels are in place up to June. He also encourages those shipping items to consolidate their shipments to allow them to move much more quickly through the port. This doesn’t mean, however, that shipments of items aren’t welcomed, Gonsalves has said.
Organizations across Miami-Dade and Broward counties have created relief funds and are asking for help in collecting supplies to ship to the island to help aid those impacted.
South Florida Caribbean Strong
South Florida Caribbean Strong — a network of community organizers and businesses — is collecting supplies and created a relief fund for the impacted victims of the La Soufrière Volcano.
Caribbean Strong has 10 South Florida locations that supplies can be brought to, including in Doral, Hialeah, Miami Shores, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale. A map of locations can be found on their website.
The organization asked for several items to be donated, but are not looking for clothing. Here is what you can give:
▪ Bottled Water
▪ N95 Masks
▪ Toiletries, sanitary items and dignity kits
▪ First aid kits
▪ Medicine, including aspirin and pepto bismol
▪ Nebulizer, asthma pumps
▪ Sleeping bags, blankets pillows, mats and towels
▪ Infant care items, such as wipes, food and diapers
▪ Batteries, flashlights and solar lanterns
Caribbean Strong partnered with the Miami Foundation to create a relief fund. Monetary contributions can be made at http://give.miamifoundation.org/volcanorelief. Donations can be made anonymously.
The organization is also looking for volunteers who can help with tasks such as pickup and delivery, sorting and packing. More information can be found on its website.
World Central Kitchen
World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that distributes meals to areas affected by disasters, has set-up kitchens in St. Vincent and partnered with local restaurants to feed residents.
WCF has been serving 4,000 meals daily to over 50 locations on St. Vincent. It expects to be providing 8,000 hot meals each day.
Created in 2017 by celebrity chef José Andrés, the nonprofit distributed 3.7 million meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
The non-profit is asking those willing to offer help to give a monetary donation on its website. A one-time or monthly donation can be made for a desired amount.
GenX Carnival & Mirage Productions Relief Fund
GenX Carnival and Mirage Productions partnered to pack and ship several items to those in need after the volcanic eruptions.
The pair are still asking people to give what they can to help impacted victims. Those looking to help can drop off or deliver supplies to Vincy/Florida Relief Drive, at 2900 NW 112th Ave. in Unit D7, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Here are some of the supplies being asked for:
▪ Personal Hygiene: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, soap and feminine pads
▪ Baby and toddler supplies: diapers, wipes, baby food, baby clothes and child activities (toys, coloring books, snacks)
▪ Food: canned foods, rice, pasta, cereals, water, juices, crackers, flour, bisicuts, cookies, flour, sugar and salt
▪ Health items: first aid kits, sanitizers, face masks, googles and buckets
▪ Household: toilet paper, cleaning supplies, sheets, blankets, towels, laundry detergent and disposable plates and cutlery and laundry
▪ Clothing: adult clothing and underwear
The organizations also started a GoFundMe relief fund. As of Tuesday, the fund goal is $25,000 and $1,205 of it has been raised.
North Miami Beach
The City of North Miami Beach will be donating 20,000 masks to the Caribbean Consular Corps on Wednesday.
North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony F. DeFillipo, the City Commission and staff will be offering the donation to aid the victims of the recent volcanic eruptions.
The masks will be shipped to St. Vincent later this week.
USAID, which offers global support and foreign aid to countries in need, has given $100,000 in Immediate Disaster Relief to the people affected by the La Soufrière Volcano eruption.
This and other efforts by USAID have helped the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross to assess humanitarian needs.
Red Cross is accepting donations for many disasters globally. To give a monetary donation visit its website.
Because its donations go to multiple causes, donators must be specific on how they want to allocate their funds.