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CSA responds to hurricane appeal as region counts cost

The CSA has a proud record in recent times of providing financial and other assistance to hurricane-impacted communities across the Caribbean and in this regard 2017 was no different In just a few short days in September, the Caribbean was hit by two catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes – first Irma, then Maria.

The pair caused widespread damage across the region, with Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Cuba, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Sint Maarten / St Martin, St Barts, Barbuda and Dominica among the worst affected.

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The Caribbean experienced four categorized hurricanes in 2017 and some islands were hit by more than one. Irma was the second most powerful on record and the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands. Subsequently, Maria created the worst natural disasters ever to befall Puerto Rico and Dominica.

The loss of life across the Caribbean, along with the hurricanes’ impact on both property and basic infrastructure, is well documented. Unfortunately, the restoration process – the hard task of rebuilding of homes and livelihoods – has been less well publicized by the media.

The response from the international community – especially from the armed forces and various government agencies – to the plight of the people in the affected islands was generous and immediate. And, as would be expected, this generosity was matched by members of the Caribbean Shipping Association and by the organization itself.

The CSA has a proud record in recent times of providing financial and other assistance to hurricane-impacted communities across the Caribbean and in this regard 2017 was no different – except that on this occasion the damage caused was more costly and extensive.

As it turned out, September’s hurricanes came just prior to the Annual General Meeting in Barbados and this proved a timely forum for CSA members to give a collective response. So, gently encouraged by their entertaining master of ceremonies, Stephen Bell from Seaboard Marine, attendees at the gala dinner were invited to dig deep and contribute to the CSA’s disaster relief fund.

The amount raised during the evening was over US$ 100,000 with notably large donations by David Jean-Marie and David Harding (from hosts Barbados Port Inc.) and personally by Roland Malins-Smith (see also Page 39 of this issue) while many, many others chipped in with corporate and individual pledges. These contributions were gratefully received and will now be put to good work.

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