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Caribbean Tourism Organization Launches Relief Fund To Assist With Hurricane Aid Efforts

September 9, 2017
Daily Gleaner, Jamaica

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has activated its 'CTO Relief Fund' through GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after hurricanes, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Irma, which has impacted a number of member countries.

The CTO says all of the money raised through its Relief Fund will be sent directly to CTO-member destinations affected by the catastrophic storm, which hit some countries with winds up to 185 mph.

"The damage caused by the force of Hurricane Irma is an important example of why we must do whatever is possible to provide financial relief to those who need it most. It's through this fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our impacted member states," CTO secretary general Hugh Riley said. "The CTO appreciates all donations to assist in the recovery efforts in these countries."

For more information on CTO's Relief Fund or to make a donation, visit:

Residents walk in rain brought on by Hurricane Irma, in Caibarien, Cuba, on Friday, September 8. - AP Photo

A look from ABC News at the impact of Hurricane Irma on individual countries and territories in the Caribbean as of Saturday, all of which are member countries of the CTO and eligible for CTO relief:


One death was reported in the British territory of Anguilla, and there was widespread property and infrastructure damage. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency says 90 percent of government buildings and business structures were damaged as well as 90 percent of the electricity infrastructure. The airport runway has been cleared of debris. The British government was coordinating recovery efforts.



Irma damaged or destroyed an estimated 90 percent of the structures on the island of Barbuda, home to about 1,400 people. A 2-year-old child was swept to his death after the storm ripped the roof off the family's house.



A 16-year-old junior professional surfer in Barbados died Tuesday while surfing large swells generated by Hurricane Irma. Zander Venezia was surfing on the island's east coast when he drowned as the storm churned several hundred miles away, according to family friend and surfing instructor Alan Burke.



Four deaths were reported in the British territory, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. The storm caused major damage to the largest and most populated island of Tortola, where video of the hillside capital, Road Town, showed the scattered wreckage of buildings and piles of debris. The emergency agency said there was a critical need for security amid instances of looting. Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson, who rode out the storm at his home on private Necker island, said entire houses disappeared and the area was "completely and utterly devastated."



There were no reports of deaths or injuries after heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Irma lashed northeastern Cuba. Seawater surged three blocks inland in the town of Caibarien and a provincial museum in the town was left in ruins. Officials said they had evacuated 880 people from the town and 50,000 people in the immediate area were without power.



About a million people were without power in Puerto Rico, which was spared a direct hit as Irma passed to the north. Nearly half the territory's hospitals were relying on generators. No injuries were reported.



French authorities reported nine dead in French St. Martin and St. Barts. Two dead were reported on Dutch St. Maarten, which shares an island with St. Martin. Property and infrastructure damage were extensive, totaling more than $1.2 billion euros ($1.44 billion) alone on St. Bart's and French St. Martin, according to an estimate by France's public insurance agency.

The Dutch government estimates 70 percent of houses on St. Maarten were badly damaged or destroyed, leaving many of the 40,000 residents reliant on public shelters.

Authorities fear a housing shortage and a loss of the upcoming tourist season, which would devastate the economy in the months ahead.



The hurricane caused extensive flooding in the Turks and Caicos Islands, with the water reaching above the waist in some areas. Homes were damaged or destroyed across the most populated island, Providenciales, and a community known as Blue Hill on the northwestern side is "gone," Minister of Instructure Gold Ray Ewing said.



Four deaths were reported in the U.S. Virgin Islands and officials on St. Thomas said they expected to find more bodies as crews struggled to reopen roads and restore power. The hospital on St. Thomas was destroyed and the harbor was in ruins, along with hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses. Adrien Reinhardt said houses in her neighborhood were leveled, and many people had a week's worth of food and water. "Let people know: We need food, we need supplies to survive," she said.

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