Since Friday, April 9, 2021 St. Vincent’s La Soufriere volcano has been erupting. More than 20,000 residents from the North of the island have had to evacuate their homes and communities and the entire island as well as neighbouring Barbados are being blanketed with ash.
The urge is always to rush and send help but this often creates a second disaster and here is why you should send cash to your friends and family rather than supplies.
Small Packages/Barrels Slow Down Aid
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves stated during a recent press conference that they appreciate the kindness and generosity of people wanting to send supplies for their loved ones. However, having to process thousands of small shipments becomes an onerous problem and one that they are incapable of managing effectively during a crisis such as this. What often happens is that the supplies are left unprocessed in storage and they may spoil.
He has encouraged that those abroad send a cash to the island which can be used by the loved one or organisation to solve the immediate need.
Empowering those Displaced
There is nothing worse than getting unwanted gifts or a product that you may not be able to use due to allergies or other adverse effects. Being displaced now means you often feel at the mercy of the person whose house you live in or the shelter you are seeking protection. When you send cash to the person in need you empower them to make the purchases and decisions that are best for them.
Cash Helps the Local Economy
Your monetary donations have a two-fold impact. Your friend or family member is able to purchase what they need most and your money supports a local business which helps the country’s economy. St. Vincent & the Grenadines have been adversely impacted, first by the COVID-19 pandemic and now the volcanic eruptions. Much of the island’s agricultural lands was in the North and all crops have been devastated. Your donations help to keep the economy moving despite the challenges. That money can circulate further on the island.
Where to Send It
Prime Minister Gonsalves has encouraged that individuals and organisations ensure that where they send their money has been officially endorsed by his government or the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO). Here are two to consider.
For those who are part of social organisations such as Rotary Clubs, Lions and other trans-national non-profits find out what your local chapter is doing and whether they have reached out to counterparts in St. Vincent to offer the support they specifically require.
The Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines confirmed that there were three official and secure means of collecting cash donations.
- The first was through an account being established by Caribbean Development Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to support the recovery efforts;
- The second is a special account within the Consolidated Fund of the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, managed by the Accountant General and;
- The third, is the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ account at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank into which only governments of the Monetary Union and regional organisations can deposit funds.
It was emphasized that there is no official GoFundMe account authourised by the government.
Campaign Amount – USD 100 million in two weeks.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission has launched the “Stronger Together Campaign: OECS Emergency Response for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines”. Pledges are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally. All funds (100%) raised via this campaign will be directly transferred to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Your support is being solicited via pledges. Kindly register your interest by completing the relevant form indicated below. The forms are designed to obtain contact information for the payment of pledges. Once the form has been completed, a member of the OECS Commission Team will contact you with payment instructions.
Pledge Form – Stronger Together Campaign (google.com)
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has created official bank accounts allowing for direct donations to be made to the La Soufrière relief efforts and the Regional Disaster Response Fund.
View the bank account details based on your location.
CDEMA – Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency | Facebook