So far, an estimated 1.2 million people have been impacted by Hurricane Irma and the powerful storm still poses a serious threat to millions more as it continues to barrel through the Caribbean.

The Red Cross is on the ground, responding to the needs of people who have already been affected, while still ramping up readiness in areas where the category 5 hurricane has yet to make landfall. Relief supplies are on standby in Panama and the Dominican Republic to ensure an immediate response if needed.

“The Canadian Red Cross is ready to support those impacted by Hurricane Irma,” says Chiran Livera, Senior Manger for International Operations. “We already have a presence in the area and are in constant conversations with the International Federation of Red Cross to support the mobilization of regional teams.”

Given the isolation of some of the islands, logistics are expected to be one of the biggest challenges of this response operation. Hurricane Irma also poses significant risks for infrastructure and housing, another challenge for those living in vulnerable conditions.

Teams have already started working on estimating damage, but the full extent of damage can’t be assessed until the hurricane passes. However, the International Federation of the Red Cross is expecting to be delivering extensive support to thousands over the coming weeks and months.  

Devastation from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Irma barrels across the Caribbean, leaving devastation in it's wake. Photo: Netherlands Red Cross
Devastation from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.
Devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The category 5 hurricane is still progressing through the Caribbean. Photo: Netherlands Red Cross
Devastation from Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.
Hurricane Irma is already showing major impacts on housing and road infrastructure across the Caribbean. Photo: Spanish Red Cross
Destruction to the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean.
Major damage has been recorded for the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean as a result of Hurricane Irma. Photo: IFRC
Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross prepares for Hurricane Irma
Volunteers from the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross prepare for Hurricane Irma. Photo: Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross
Haiti Red Cross volunteers board up the Canadian Red Cross office in Haiti.
Volunteers boarding up the Canadian Red Cross office in Port au Prince Haiti in preparation for Hurricane Irma.


Canadians wishing to support those impacted by Hurricane Irma can make a financial donation online here