ABOUT THE CRISIS
Hurricane Irma—the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record—began its path of devastation across the Caribbean on September 6, unleashing catastrophic rain, wind, and storm surges from Barbuda to St. Martin, Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba. Less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma made landfall, a second Category 5 storm reached the Caribbean. Hurricane Maria made landfall over Dominica on September 18 before moving on to Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands.
USAID officially activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) on September 7 as Irma barreled across the Caribbean. Disaster experts on the DART were pre-deployed to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and The Bahamas ahead of the storm, and began coordinating with local authorities and humanitarian organizations on the ground to assess the damage and deliver vital assistance as soon as conditions allowed. As the full scope of Irma and Maria’s devastation became clear, the DART repositioned to the hardest-hit areas, sending teams to St. Martin, Antigua and Barbuda, and The Bahamas.
On October 9, USAID’s DART officially demobilized after more than a month on the ground. The DART, which at its height comprised 54 people, remained flexible and nimble to respond to changing humanitarian needs – with disaster experts deployed over the course of the response to Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, St. Martin, Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, and Dominican Republic
For more information and updates on the response, visit the USAID Caribbean Hurricanes page.
How You Can Help
When disasters occur anywhere in the world, Americans generously offer assistance to those in need. Decades of experience in disaster relief and recovery have shown that the best way to help people affected by disaster is to make cash donations to reputable relief and charitable organizations on the ground. These groups work closely with affected communities, know what people need and how to strengthen recovery efforts.
Cash donations are the most efficient form of assistance. Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods. Cash donations also allow relief supplies to be purchased in markets close to the disaster site, which stimulates the local economy by providing employment and generating cash flow.
Organizations listed on the resources below are experienced and are participating directly in relief efforts. If you would like to know more about organizations you are considering for support, you can find detailed financial and programmatic information at: GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and the Better Business Bureau. The organizations listed below are experienced and are participating directly in Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
Organizations Responding to Hurricanes Irma and Maria*
* Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) of non-U.S.Government sites or the information, products, or services contained therein. USAID CIDI does not exercise editorial control over all of the information that you may find at these locations. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this website.
About USAID CIDI
USAID created the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI) in 1988 one month after Hurricane Gilbert made landfall as a Category 5 storm that affected 10 countries. An outpouring of unsolicited donations took up space needed to stage and deliver life-saving relief supplies, and USAID and other responders spent valuable time managing unneeded clothing, expired medicine, and other non-critical items. USAID established the Center to educate the public about the advantages of giving monetary donations to relief organizations and the downside of donating unsolicited material goods www.cidi.org. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) leads and coordinates the U.S. government’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas, responding to an average of 65 disasters in more than 50 countries every year. Learn More About USAID/OFDA