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Nov 8, 2019

Recovery, Preparedness, Resilience: The Ongoing Hurricane Irma Response

Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI)
Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI)

While images of Hurricane Irma were long ago replaced in the media’s daily recounting of the latest disaster, communities impacted by the devastation of the 2017 hurricanes continue to strive towards a holistic recovery.

Our community-led, nonprofit partners on the islands have provided updates that detail how funds raised through GlobalGiving are supporting recovery two years into the work of rebuilding. 

St. Croix

Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands is the only organization on St. Croix providing free-of-charge construction services to residents whose homes were severely damaged in Hurricane Maria and Irma’s aftermath. Although this has resulted in an overwhelming case load, LSSVI is determined to repair houses that pose a safety risk to inhabitants, especially the elderly and persons with disabilities. We are happy to have supported LSSVI through this Fund, and in partnership with Cruzan Rum’s Island Spirit Fund. 

LSSVI director Chris Finch describes how dire a situation some survivors face, even two years after the hurricane struck:

One of our clients, an elderly lady, slept under a pop up tent in her bedroom so she wouldn’t get wet every time it rained.  Another senior citizen had been without electricity or running water for almost two years. A third house had large openings where windows and doors used to be…. Rebuilding work continues nonstop.” 

St. Thomas

The grassroots organization founded after Hurricane Irma, St. Thomas Recovery Team (STRT) has been assisting thousands of homeowners rebuild their homes over the past two years. Director Imani Daniel points out the critical work her team has done to ensure the community heals on a psychological level, as well. 

It is important to us that we keep the spirits of our people high, be aware and sensitive to widespread PTSD during this season, and help our constituents envision a brighter future.” 

Through the generosity of donors to this Fund, GlobalGIving recently provided an additional grant to the three long-term recovery groups of the USVIs, including STRT.

The We Grow Fund, a partner of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, is helping the farmers who lost thousands of fruit trees to hurricanes Irma and Maria through their native tree restoration project. Projects such as these are critical to islanders ability to sustain themselves through local agriculture, and ensures a diverse variety of fruit including mango, soursop, avocado, caimito, egg fruit, starfruit, dwarf coconut, lime, lemon, and apples. 

As we mark the passing of another hurricane season that fortunately spared the USVI’s, the GlobalGiving community continues to work with local partners leading the recovery from previous storms and increasing resilience for the future. This would be impossible without generous donors like you!

With gratitude,

Andrea 

Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands Inc
Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands Inc
Nov 7, 2019

Two Years After Hurricane Harvey: Stories of Hope

Photo courtesy of BakerRipley
Photo courtesy of BakerRipley

In the two years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, GlobalGivers like you have raised more than $5 million to help residents across Texas rebuild and recover. We’re pleased to share this update on how your generosity  is helping others rebuild homes, implement disaster preparedness strategies, and strengthen resilience in communities across Texas. 

Long-term rebuilding and reconstruction 

Counties along the Upper Gulf Bend bore the brunt of Harvey’s winds. With support from GlobalGiving, Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group is providing new homes for eight low-income families whose livelihoods were destroyed in the wake of Harvey. 

Victoria County Long Term Recovery Group continues to make progress relocating homeowners whose everyday lives were turned upside-down during Harvey to a nearby community positioned above active flood zones. The “Hope Meadows” project currently has 15 approved new homeowners. Thanks to their efforts, displaced families in the communities of Bloomington, Placedo, and Dacosta finally have the opportunity to feel secure in their new homes. 

With the help of local volunteer groups and partners, Rockport Hands of Hope has installed storm covers on more than 100 homes throughout Austwell and Tivoli. By reinforcing homes that are at high risk of being damaged by hurricane force winds, their efforts ensure that families are better equipped to face future disasters. 

All Hands and Hearts teams in Coastal Bend have also been hard at work in the Texas summer heat, completing an unprecedented twenty-four homes during a five month period.

Resilience building

GlobalGiving recognizes that reconstruction is just one part of the recovery process. Our partners at Attack Poverty and Urban Harvest have incorporated wellness programming into their disaster recovery work to help communities recover from their losses.

In response to the gap in providing emotional support services for disaster survivors, Attack Poverty's Disaster Recovery team has started an Emotional and Spiritual Support Program which focuses on providing in-home counseling to residents for more than 30 families. By approaching each home repair assessment through an emotional support lens and training construction coordinators in mental health support, Attack Poverty ensures that individuals are able to recover from both physical and emotional hardships that Hurricane Harvey caused.

With the support of GlobalGiving, Urban Harvest hired a Community Engagement Director to more directly serve four Houston-area food deserts experiencing heightened challenges in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. By connecting food access, productive greenspace, economic opportunity, and community development, the new director empowers each community to recover with dignity and build resiliency in their neighborhood. 

Preparedness and mitigation

Texas’ propensity toward hurricanes, floods and other disasters means preparing for these events is a priority. Our partner Harvey Home Connect has expanded its “recovery matchmaking” services used after Harvey to connect homeowners in need with groups working in the area (specifically finding groups that could work within the parameters of the request for service) to be ready to activate in future disasters. With support from GlobalGiving, HHC is building out backend infrastructure to improve their ability to respond and has already expanded to less served counties, including Brazoria and Galveston. The success of these improvements was evident in HHC’s effective, rapid response in the wake of Imelda. 

In collaboration with emergency management experts, the Houston Arts Alliance has designed a program that prepares the arts and culture community for future disasters and teaches artists how to recover their assets in the wake of a flood or another crisis. HAA is also collaborating on mitigation and engineering projects within Houston’s historic theatre district that would reduce risk for this part of the city, Houston's heart of art and culture, from flooding. HAA is emerging as a national leader in disaster preparation for the artist community. Since partnering with GlobalGiving, HAA has been invited to join VOADs (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), multiple long-term recovery groups, and at the request of the Smithsonian Institution, will be speaking at the Heritage Emergency and Response Training in December 2019 in Washington, DC.

Houston Advanced Research Center is an independent research hub providing analysis on environmental issues for people seeking scientific answers. With support from GlobalGiving, HARC is providing technical research and data that informs the City of Houston’s Climate Action Plan, due out in December 2019. HARC also works with climate scientists on climate risk indicators, together producing first-time data for areas of the region that will support Houston’s resilience plan. This data will be broadly available, and HARC is developing story maps for different regions that illustrate climate risk factors and social impact risks to tell different stories. HARC is engaging partners from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas on this story mapping project, intended to benefit local communities and demonstrate the real risks associated with climate change and rising heat index.

As residents continue rebuilding their communities, we are immensely grateful for your generous support for each of these programs. Thank you for your decision to fund community-led disaster response efforts after Hurricane Harvey with your cash donation—the smart way to give after a disaster. 

With gratitude,

Kelly + the GlobalGiving Team

Nov 7, 2019

You made a difference for refugees at a crucial moment

Photo from Emfasis Foundation
Photo from Emfasis Foundation

After fighting broke out in northeast Syria last month, conditions for Syrian refugees are as critical as ever. An estimated 180,000 individuals, including 80,000 children, had to flee their homes and communities. The United Nations reports that vital infrastructure has been damaged in the fighting, including clean water sources. Additionally, the onset of colder weather heightens displaced Syrians’ need to escape the violence even further.

We are so grateful for your support at such a crucial moment for Syrian refugees. Your support continues to make a difference to our nonprofit leaders and the communities they serve.

For example, your support is helping our nonprofit partners provide immediate relief to those in need of food, water, shelter, and other basic necessities.

  • Since May, CARE has reached more than 70,000 individuals in northwest Syria with emergency supplies, such as hygiene kits, food rations, cash assistance, mobile health clinics, and clean drinking water. Despite some of their health centers sustaining damage from nearby bombings earlier in the year, CARE is continuing to coordinate with local partners to best assist the most vulnerable survivors, especially women and girls. 
  • In the past year, Peace Winds America has constructed more than 800 durable shelters for Syrian refugees that have fled to northern Iraq (Kurdistan). They partner with the community in this work by training and employing refugees throughout the construction process, offering them the opportunity to gain much-needed income. Peace Winds is also distributing food kits to families, along with water and clothes.

Additionally, your generosity is helping our partners provide important psychosocial support needed to help refugee children begin to heal from the traumas of war and displacement.

  • The UN Refugee Agency reports that more than half of all refugees are under the age of 18. Our partner, Emfasis Foundation, created a PhotoTherapy project in Greece to serve this growing population and provide them with much-needed psychosocial support. Through Emfasis’s work, refugee children have a safe place to express their thoughts and emotions, process their trauma, and find community.
  • International Association for Human Values (IAHV) is responding to high rates of mental illness in refugee children by providing a variety of programs tailored to meet children’s specific mental and emotional needs. So far, IAHV has served 18,000 children through integrated trauma-relief, healing, and resilience workshops. They have also provided 400 children at risk of recruitment by armed groups with in-depth training in human values and non-violent empowerment.

Watch your inbox in the coming months for more stories of how your donations are making the world a brighter place. Thank you again for your generous support of the Syrian Refugee Relief Fund that makes a community-focused response to the ongoing refugee crisis possible. 

Warmly,

Claire Hilton + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from CARE
Photo from CARE
 
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