Hurricanes Irma & Maria
Hurricane Irma has been the most powerful and destructive hurricane recorded in the Atlantic. The destruction began in the Caribbean when Irma’s winds were a Category 5, the strongest measure on the hurricane wind scale. Hurricane Maria has been equally powerful and destructive.
The losses from Irma are still being quantified, however we know that lives, property and critical infrastructure have been lost in over ten countries. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced. In many places, power has been lost. With the loss of power and infrastructure, communication is a major challenge.
People are in need of immediate assistance. Some of the key resources needed are food, shelter, water and essential non-food items. According to one survivor interviewed by CNN, “Most of the people are left with just the clothes on their backs.” Although the immediate alleviation of suffering is critical, the long-term recovery process will take significant time and resources.
The rapid assessment conducted in late September identified the need power as a critical need, particularly for vulnerable families. Working with our local partner, My Brother’s Workshop (MWB), Field Ready developed concept to address this need using locally sourced materials. This includes the repair and reuse of salvaged solar panels - damaged in the hurricanes but still able to produce power. These are being used to power a range of electrical items such as lighting, cell phone charging and wifi hotspots. A crucial piece of this pilot includes teaching local people which will empower them to meet their needs directly.
The impact of our work is unlike other aid agencies. A single repair, such as fixing a power supply, can benefit thousands of people. “We’ll be able to rapidly make a difference,” says Dara Dotz, a member of Field Ready’s Rapid Emergency Deployment Team. “With the start of our response, we’ll begin with the aim of building people’s resilience.”
More information is available in this 1-page pdf