Red Cross prepared to respond to Hurricane Irma

Topics: Americas, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
September 05, 2017

Relief supplies in a warehouse

Photo: American Red Cross

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is preparing for a major humanitarian response as Hurricane Irma moves towards the Caribbean.

The storm has been upgraded to a category 5 – the most powerful category – triggering warnings for several Caribbean nations, including St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Cuba. It is feared that the storm may cut access to some islands.

It is estimated that more that 31.7 million people will be affected by Irma’s trail through the Caribbean.

“The forecast as it stands right now is extremely worrying,” said Walter Cotte, IFRC Regional Director for the Americas. “We are anticipating major impacts on a number of islands, and we are preparing to respond to needs that may arise. We are especially worried that Irma could affect areas that have been suffering with severe rainfall in the past months.

“One of the main challenges is going to be logistical, given the isolation of some the islands. We need to ensure a reliable channel for relief efforts in the aftermath of the hurricane.”

Red Cross Societies are already active, mobilizing volunteers to the possible affected areas and relaying public awareness messages. Relief supplies are on standby in Panama and the Dominican Republic to ensure an immediate response should it be needed.

The Canadian Red Cross has a presence in the area and is coordinating with the International Federation of the Red Cross and supporting the mobilization of regional Red Cross teams.

A roster of trained Canadian Red Cross aid workers is ready to be sent to the Caribbean quickly if needed.

Canadians wishing to support the Red Cross response to Hurricane Irma can make a financial donation to the Hurricane Irma Appeal.

Donations will be used to support any of the most vulnerable regions impacted by the hurricane. This could include efforts in the Caribbean or in the United States, depending on where the need is greatest.

About the Canadian Red Cross

Here in Canada and overseas, the Red Cross stands ready to help people before, during and after a disaster. As a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – which is made up of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 190 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies – the Canadian Red Cross is dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and throughout the world.