How To Help the Caribbean and Florida after Hurricanes Irma and Maria
Most of us here at Scuba Diving magazine are familiar with the effects of hurricanes, because our headquarters is based in Winter Park, Florida. We’ve seen our fair share of storm damage over the years, but overall we've been very fortunate with our location away from the coast in Central Florida. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about many of our friends in the Caribbean and the Florida Keys.
Satellite image of hurricane Irma passing over the Caribbean.
It’s heartbreaking to see the damage and devastation recent hurricanes Irma and Maria have brought to so many of our friends and colleagues in the Caribbean and Florida. Not only are these some of our favorite places to dive and visit, but these regions have also consistently ranked among the Top 100 destinations as voted on by you, our readers, year after year in Scuba Diving's Readers Choice awards. The beautiful coral reefs, incredible walls and wrecks will always be meaningful to us, and we hope to hear reports soon of how the dive sites have faired. But more importantly, its the people that call these islands and regions home that need our help now more than ever.
Many people were placed under mandatory evacuations but did not have the means to leave their island or home. For some, it was simply too late. Those who did evacuate now may have no home to go back too. The islands and their people need supplies, and they need our help. Islands like Barbuda and Dominica were completely devastated by Irma and Maria, with reports coming in that more than 90 percent of homes have been destroyed. Hurricane Maria brought heavy rains and flooding to Puerto Rico, leaving all residents of the island without power.
With more than two months left in hurricane season, there is no guarantee that we’ve seen the last — or worst — of these storms, but our thoughts are with the islands of the Caribbean and our neighbors in South Florida and the Florida Keys. We want you to know that we are here for you and hope to be back diving with you soon.
Below we have listed verified aid relief organizations where you can donate to help get these regions up and running again for residents and visitors.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), collects donations through the CTO Relief Fund to help with relief efforts caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters. The CTO works with 27 countries throughout the Caribbean.
This fund was established by the government of Dominica who says urgent support is needed. All funds will go directly to the people of Dominica who are currently displaced or in need of medical assistance and to assist those who are now without homes.
A centralized hub has been set up through GoFundMe for hurricane Irma relief. You can choose to donate to a specific fund that is represented here or donate to the Direct Impact fund which will be dispersed among verified GoFundMe campaigns.
This fund was set up by USVI native and basketball legend Tim Duncan after Hurricane Irma hit and is now also being used to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Maria.
Kenny Chesney has pledged to donate funds from his foundation to the Hurricane Irma disaster relief for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
Hand in Hand was originally created to help victims of Hurricane Harvey but has since expanded to also help victims of Hurricane Irma, including the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.