Here is the initial assessment of the damage on La Gonave after Hurricane Matthew, compiled by the island’s government representatives. One version is in Creole and one is in English. A final assessment has not yet been completed because some locations have been hard to reach, but it is clear from the initial report that the damage is already extensive. Over 1,000 homes destroyed and another 6,000 damaged. Our estimate is that over a third of the island’s infrastructure has been impacted.
1. Wait for the Needs– Wait for formal assessments from the government and from local organizations with already established relationships on the ground.
2. Work Within the System– Work under the direction of local government officials and/or with organizations that understand the needs and already have systems in place on the ground.
3. Raise or Give Cash and Give Locally- Funds (instead of goods) can get to those in need faster and more cheaply, and can always respond to the greatest need of the moment. Collected goods can be costly to transport, not fulfill a specific need, prevent needed goods from getting where they need to go, and undermine the local economy.
4. Few Volunteer Opportunities– Like unsolicited collected goods, untrained volunteers can clog the system and undermine the work of established relief organizations. If you do fit (can fill) a need, make sure you are wanted, your arrival is known beforehand, and that the logistics surrounding your trip are worked out in advance (i.e. transportation, lodging, and access to food/water).
5. Don’t Work Alone– Try to combine forces with other groups wanting to help in order to avoid duplicating efforts or overwhelming those on the ground.
BEST THING YOU CAN DO?
Raise funds and foster community awareness of established organizations!