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The first shipment of relief supplies to Antigua and Barbuda was expected to leave Trinidad and Tobago via barge last Thursday and another on Friday (September 22) providing that weather conditions are favourable. Inclement weather prevented the provisions being transported last week.

Category 5 Hurrricane Irma, which made landfall two weeks ago, caused widespread damage to Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, St Martin/Sint Maarten. Hurricane Maria followed the same path up the Leeward Islands last week and devastated Dominica.

Suzanne Dowdy of the Living Water Community (LWC) said the first shipment leaving on Thursday should arrive today. Forty pallets were prepared for Antigua where they would be distributed.  In an interview last Tuesday, Dowdy stressed the relief effort would be ongoing and not only help the Diocese of St John’s-Basseterre but also St Martin/Sint Maarten and Dominica. “Whoever is in trouble we are going to help,” she said. Assistance can only stop when the crisis was over and the persons impacted can return to “normal life”.

The response from the public has been “tremendous” with persons from all walks of life, and groups in society giving what they can. “People have taken the time to provide quality items…things people will need,” Dowdy said.

LWC is part of ‘TnT for Irma’ involving public- and private-sector organisations including the Joint Chambers of Commerce, the Love All Serve All initiative, and the Halo Foundation of Antigua and Barbuda. They are collaborating with One Caribbean Media for the One Island concert.

TnT for Irma is accepting donations from the public. It is appealing for: water, non-perishable foods, toiletries, cots, small mattresses, sheets/blankets, towels, soap powder, mop buckets, brooms/mops, latex gloves, adult diapers, baby diapers, sanitary napkins, lotion, toilet bowl cleaner, insect repellant, cleaning detergent, antiseptic/disinfectant (eg. Dettol), hair grease and combs/brushes.  The rebuilding items needed are: t1-11 ply wood, galvanize, pine ply, windows, doors, lumber, galvanize screws, flash band and hurricane clamps.

Supplies can be delivered to Cargo Consolidators Agency Ltd located at Warehouse, 3 Amazon Drive, Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Point Lisas, Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Packages should be clearly labelled ‘TnT for Irma Relief’.

Cash donations can also be made via Digicel handset by texting the word ‘HELP’ to 5151. Each text donates $5 to the rebuild and relief efforts. More texts mean more contributions.

Contributions can also be made via any WiPay booth as well as via direct deposit to the IRMA RELIEF FUND at RBC Royal Bank Ltd, 19 – 21 Park Street, Port of Spain, account #100091110130182. Cash and cheque donations are also being accepted at Living Water Community, 109 Frederick Street, Port of Spain.

Another initiative is a relief concert which takes place today, Republic Day (see Page 22). The Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has received donations from the public which will be sent to the islands. President Rudolph Boneo last Wednesday said he has been in contact with SVP representatives overseas and they will be responsible for distribution. – LPG