Support for the People of the Caribbean

From The Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, (DBFSC) Message of Support for the People of the Caribbean Following the Devastation of several Hurricanes Including Irma and Maria.

In the past decade or so, global warming has become a harsh and stark reality for the people of the Caribbean and elsewhere. The frequency and violence of hurricanes in the region are examples of this. In the past two weeks several hurricanes have ravaged the Caribbean islands.

Thus, it is with sorrow and alarm that the Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, expresses its support for the people of the Caribbean, in the aftermath of several ferocious hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on the region.

On 19th Sept. Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane made landfall in Dominica, Guadeloupe, and later Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and the US Virgin Islands. Other countries such as Martinique and St. Lucia were also impacted. Maria is now on its way to the Turks and Caicos, and parts of the Bahamas. However, the eye of the hurricane passed over Dominica with wind strength of 155 miles per hour. The island has been almost completely destroyed. At least 20 people are confirmed dead and 30 are missing.

Countries such as Cuba, Haiti, DR, Puerto Rico, Barbuda and the US and British Virgin Islands had already been victimized by Hurricane Irma, another category 5 hurricane. Now they have received a second beating. Thus, some Caribbean countries have endured two category 5 hurricanes in 10 days! Let us not forget that St. Martin/Sint Maarten, St. Barthelemy (St. Barts) and Guadeloupe also endured the wrath of Irma. Almost the entire Caribbean region is now in a state of total misery and destruction due to the ferocity of these hurricanes. And the hurricane season is not yet over. Several of these islands, especially Barbuda, Guadeloupe, and St. Martin, now face a severe challenge to rebuild as 95% of homes and almost all infrastructure were destroyed. Dominica is now the latest victim of hurricane destruction. Hurricane survivors are now particularly vulnerable as a result. Many are still without clean drinking water, food, and shelter. Power has been completely knocked out in places like Dominica and Puerto Rico.

Additionally, in the past two weeks, two destructive earthquakes, plus a volcanic eruption, has hit Mexico, with catastrophic consequences.

The Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus share and feel the pain of our Caribbean kin and friends, and we stand with them in this their hour of need. Numerous Dalhousie students are Caribbean citizens, and many have not been able to contact relatives in Dominica and other islands. Many Dalhousie faculty and staff members have Caribbean roots and we are deeply concerns about the tragedy brought about by these forces of nature.

The Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus will be hosting Caribbean hurricane relief fundraisers in order to assist the people of the region. Note that since these deadly hurricanes are becoming status quo, we will have to do both short and long term relief.

There are a few other ways assistance can be rendered to our Caribbean sisters and brothers. You can donate to Save the Children Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and other charities and NGOs working in the region. Donations for Cuba can specifically go to the Canadian Network on Cuba. The Network has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Cuba after the devastation of Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and send doctors to Haiti following the earthquake of 2010. Please contact Dalhousie Prof. Isaac Saney, for more info on how to donate to the CNC.

Additionally, there are national organizations within Canada to which individuals may contribute cash or kind. For example, there is the Antigua and Barbuda Association of Toronto (ABAT), which is collecting donations. There is also a branch in Calgary.

Furthermore, you may contribute to Global Medic. This is a rapid first response disaster relief charity, and it is working with the Dominica Association of Ontario to provide short term relief emergency kits.

Moreover, Kewoba Carter, a Dalhousie staff member, has started a gofundme page for Dominica hurricane rebuilding. Kindly made a donation at:

Though the road to recovery will be a long and slow one, we are confident that the people of the Caribbean have the strength and resilience to overcome the effects of these destructive hurricanes. We stand in solidarity with them.

Afua Cooper and Michelle Patrick

Co-chairs: Dalhousie Black Faculty and Staff Caucus
President, Black Canadian Studies Association.