UNITED STATES: Salesian Missions sets up fund to aid Hurricane Irma humanitarian relief
(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has just launched a new hurricane fund. Donations received through the fund will go to support Salesian missionary programs in countries affected by Hurricane Irma, which may include communities in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba*, and the United States. Because Salesian missionaries live and work in local communities, they are perfectly positioned to assess needs on the ground and ensure that relief and aid reach those who need it most.
Hurricane Irma affected communities across the Caribbean Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the entire state of Florida. Salesian missionaries report that more than 20,000 people are displaced in the Dominican Republic with some areas still experiencing flooding. Nearly 1 million people in Puerto Rico lost power, and news reports indicate that parts of the island could be without power for up to four to six months. Power outages in Cuba are widespread and expected to last for a while. Buildings have been flooded and agriculture fields have been heavily damaged with crops destroyed.
There are concerns about another cholera outbreak in Haiti as sanitation and clean water access remain a concern. Close to 30 people have been known to have died and thousands have been displaced from their homes and places of work. Millions of people, about 62 percent of residents in Florida, remain without power.
Salesian missionaries are actively working in several communities within these countries with their local resources to assess damage and how many people are in need of humanitarian assistance including shelter, food, clean water and assistance with long-term needs like rebuilding. Funding raised will help these efforts both in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma and for the long-term in these local communities.
At the Salesian parish in Belle Glade, several of the buildings are damaged from water leaks and the playground is damaged from falling trees. But still, Salesian missionaries are working to focus on the needs of their community, which are extensive. They report that many of the field workers will not be able to return to work until the fields are dried out, which could take up to two weeks. Salesian missionaries have been providing food from their pantry, as well as ice that still remains from before the power went out. Most of the Salesian parishioners are returning from out of state, many of whom were forced to travel with limited resources.
“Salesian missionaries are a trusted resource in times of crisis and have the logistic capabilities to ensure humanitarian aid reaches those who need it efficiently and effectively,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions. “Around the globe, Salesian missionaries are proactively preparing for impending storms by helping people secure their homes, relocating them to safe shelters and gathering as many supplies as are available. And even after the news cameras leave, Salesian missionaries remain providing clean drinking water, food, blankets and crucial life-saving services.”
From Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in 2016 and the earthquake in the country in 2010 to humanitarian disasters in Nepal, India and more, Salesian missionaries are on the front lines assisting people and working to rebuild homes and livelihoods. Those who want to help victims of Hurricane Irma are urged to make a donation online at SalesianMissions.org/give-hurricane.
*Any goods, services, or funds provided by Salesian Missions to programs located in this country were administered in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.