Hurricanes 2008

Note: The following appeal is now closed.  You can support our ongoing work by donating to the Canadian Red Cross


Every year – and with increasing frequency – hurricanes cause devastation across the Americas.

In the course of two weeks, four hurricanes (Faye, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike) have swept through the Americas, affecting Haiti and Cuba most seriously, but also Jamaica, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, and the Dominican Republic. Thousands of local Red Cross volunteers responded immediately to the tens of thousands of people affected.


Three hurricanes have devastated large parts of Haiti causing flooding and washing out roads and buildings. Thousands of people have been affected.


In Cuba, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike swept through the country damaging buildings, homes and livelihoods in more than 60 per cent of Cuba’s territory. Late in the season, on November 8th, Hurricane Paloma struck causing further damages.

In Jamaica, Gustav made landfall on August 28th bringing strong winds and rain. In total, 72 communities have been impacted and there is wide-spread damage to the Jamaican agricultural sector.

While recovering from the effects of Hanna, Hurricane Ike passed through the Bahamas on September 7th. It is estimated that between 500 and 700 families have been affected.

Hanna swept through the Turks and Caicos Islands on September 1st and Ike followed shortly after on the 6th. The storms caused flooding and damages to roads and buildings. The most affected island is Grand Turk.

Canadian Red Cross Response

In response to the urgent needs of thousands, the Canadian Red Cross has provided relief supplies, personnel and financial support. Red Cross will continue to support humanitarian efforts already underway in the Caribbean as needed.

Seven Canadian aid workers were sent to Haiti to work as part of a Basic Health Emergency Response Unit, where they provided healthcare to families in Gonaives. In the month of October, 5,000 patients were treated.

In addition, the Canadian Red Cross supported the Government of Canada’s shipment of relief supplies for 2,000 families in Haiti. These goods arrived in Port au Prince on September 10th.

Thanks to the generous support of the Canadian Government and Canadian public, relief is making its way to the people who need it the most in the Caribbean. However, the needs are still immense and your support is urgently needed.

Canadians wishing to help support Hurricane disaster preparedness activities and relief work are encouraged to contribute by donating online, calling 1-800-418-1111 or contacting their local Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked “Hurricanes 2008” and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 400 Cooper Street, Suite 8000, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 2H8. All donations to “Hurricanes 2008” will be used to support the most vulnerable areas in the Americas.

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In-kind donations of food, clothing and other items, while well intentioned, are not the best way to help those in need. There are tremendous processing and transportation costs involved in shipping these items to beneficiaries. Local purchases of food and clothing are more culturally appropriate and effective. Red Cross supplies can be purchased in the immediate area, thereby reducing transportation costs. Cash transfers to the affected region provide the optimum flexibility to our Red Cross colleagues so they can meet the most urgent needs.