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Hurricanes Irma and Maria: appeal for donations

September 18, 2017
PSI is calling on its affiliates to support the call for donations to the PSI Aid Fund to help our sisters and brothers in the Caribbean. Your donations will assist our affiliates in contributing to early recovery efforts as well as in rehabilitation and re-building. PSI will work with affiliates to build their capacity to influence policies and actions related to the re-building efforts, protecting the rights of workers, promoting people-centered development and advocating for quality public services that support just and equitable societies.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria Initial Damage Assessments

Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful Category 5 hurricane, touched every island in the northern Caribbean, causing massive devastation.  At least 44 people died, with many injured and displaced. A similar number were killed in the US states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  Irma has impacted over 1.5 million people. 

In the southern islands of the Bahamas, close to 90% of homes were completely destroyed. In Barbuda, 95% of the homes, buildings and offices were destroyed. The 1,800 residents had to be evacuated to the sister island of Antigua, after Barbuda was declared uninhabitable. Between 70% and 90% of homes and buildings in Anguilla, Sint Maarten/St Martin, the British Virgin Islands, and the US Virgin Islands were destroyed.

Maria, the 13th named hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, became a category 5 hurricane near the Leeward Islands on Monday September 18th, 2017, impacting Dominica at approximately 9:35 (EST) that night. Maria then impacted Antigua and Barbuda (again), Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis on September 19th, 2017 and the Virgin Islands September 19 – 20, 2017. The devastation in Dominica has been enormous, destroying about 90% of public buildings, businesses and homes throughout the mountainous country. 27 people were confirmed dead, with another 50 missing. Maria then took aim at Puerto Rico. Latest reports state that more than 30 people in Puerto Rico lost their lives.

Hurricane IrmaPSI has affiliates in the Caribbean and in the USA. Their members work in disaster management, they are firefighters, paramedics, health workers and from local government. These workers have important roles in the aftermath of the hurricane: immediate response, early recovery, rehabilitation and re-building.

Our Caribbean sub-regional office has contacted most unions, who confirm that Irma and Maria left a long trail of destruction, pushing back development gains made over the years. These small island economies must rebuild the valuable public services that contributed to their social and economic development. Tourism, on which they all heavily depend, will take many months to recover. Agriculture has also been severely affected, the effects of the losses rippling through the entire sub-region. There is an urgent need for foreign aid to contribute to the sustainable development of these small island developing states (SIDS). 

PSI will send a portion of the donated funds to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is working closely with our unions and has expertise in emergency relief. The rest of the funds will be reserved to helping unions in their rebuilding efforts.  

All bank transfers must have the reference "PSI Aid Fund - Caribbean”. Please remember to include your affiliate number in the text of all bank transfers, to ensure that contributions are directed accordingly, and to inform PSI at psiaidfund@world-psi.org when making a transfer. This enables PSI to acknowledge your donation with a letter and a certificate. Banking details are as follows:

             Internationale des Services Publics (PSI)
             Account No. 298 630 31 06 90-0 or IBAN CH72 0844 0298 6303 1069 0
             Swift code: BCLRCHBB
             Bank name and address: Banque Cler, CP 3828, CH-1211 Geneva 3, Switzerland

Thanking you in advance for your generous support.

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