105 persons sheltered at the Marriaqua Government school benefitted from a partnership between the UK-SVG Friendship Trust and Nic’s Catering.
Ms Nicole Browne of Nic’s Catering served up a sumptuous menu of rice and peas, green salad, creamed plantain, provisions, pasta in tomato sauce and braised chicken yesterday as part of our La Soufriere Volcanic Eruption Recovery Assistance Programme.
This evening, 26 individuals at a separate shelter will have their dinners catered for as the programme increases in intensity in the coming days and weeks ahead.
The Trust looks forward to extending its relationship with Nic’s Catering to bring further relief to evacuees. Ms Browne has been volunteering her culinary skills since the start of the explosive eruption just over a month ago.
La Soufrière volcano is active, hurricane season has begun, what lies ahead for the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
On Friday 9th April the La Soufrière Volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, began erupting and started the beginning of what has become a humanitarian crisis as declared by the UN. The volcano has erupted numerous times since, expelling ash into the air which has blanketed the island and destroyed crops, property, water supplies and infrastructure. Flooding and landslides began with the onset of the hurricane season, so the situation has got worse almost a month on in this, a commonwealth country.
19% of the population (20,000 people) have been displaced from their homes in what was the high alert and extremely dangerous Red Zone, the area closest to the volcano – NEMO SVG
The economy and jobs which highly depends on tourism and agriculture is suffering further on top of the pandemic, due to the natural disasters.
Before the floods and landslides the cost of recovery was forecast to be an estimated 50% of the country’s GDP according to Channel 4’ sources. What will the cost be now?
UK- SVG Friendship Trust is working with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) High Commission in the UK to fundraise and galvanise support and assistance for the Volcano and flood hit island. With the long road to recovery ahead we and our ambassador Donna Fraser OBE, would like to drive further awareness and engagement in the UK with your help.
We have been working with partners on the ground to provide support and have started to spend in St. Vincent on much needed aid to meet immediate needs with a focus on high risk groups such as young people, the disabled community and women. This week we made a big step as we partnered with the St. Vincent Cooperative Bank, one of the oldest indigenous banks. We have deposited a substantial amount of funds in St. Vincent to enable us to be more agile in providing financial support to projects on the ground.
Education and supporting getting our children back on track after a double-hit of the pandemic and natural disaster will have affected their progress, is also a major priority. We are committed to supporting St. Vincent in the short and long-term and we ask our donors and friends to continue to talk about the crisis, share content relating to the crisis and the recovery, put on fundraisers and donate to support the recovery. We must maintain momentum so that St Vincent can rise again.
So please continue to support us in our efforts in whatever way you can through sharing our blog posts, liking and sharing our social media content or continuing to donate if you can. You can find all our social media links and donate link here: @UKSVGFRIENDS | Linktree
The UK-SVG Friendship Trust has teamed up with the St. Vincent Cooperative Bank as its local partner to assure the framework for the disbursement of its EC$ 800,000 La Soufriere Volcanic Eruption Recovery Assistance Programme.
The UK based Trust has engaged the bank due to its long-standing commitment to the country as one of the oldest indigenous banks. The “penny bank” with its strong roots in local communities will act to ensure that all funds spent locally are accounted for and that the programme delivers for its intended beneficiaries.
The UK-SVG friends is comprised of over 7000 donors in the UK. Collectively, they have so far contributed more than £250,000 in a campaign launched on the GoFundMe platform which was supported by the SVG High Commission. The Fund will have three components, (1) A specific sum to be transferred to the Government’s volcanic relief fund (2) A portion to be reserved for assisting persons who were evacuated and are returning home on advice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (3) Purchase of items for immediate needs for those in shelters and those staying with families or friends.
According to Chairman of trustees Cenio Lewis, “the funding framework for the programme is to provide for the relief of hardship by persons directly impacted and displaced by the La Soufriere Volcanic eruption particularly those evacuated from the red zones. The Trust is especially concerned about the plight of women, girls and persons living with disabilities and those who are otherwise at high risk.”
Lewis further indicated that “as far as practicable, the Trust intends to directly procure food and personal care items in St. Vincent and the Grenadines to boost the local economy with particular attention to small enterprises. Given the double challenge of dampened economic activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic and now the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, we wish to do our part to keep the economy afloat as we respond to individuals in most need.”
Executive Director of the St. Vincent Cooperative Bank Mr Albert Porter has welcomed the partnership stating that “this is an interesting time in the country’s history and the bank is pleased to be playing a pivotal role in helping to bring people back on their feet in partnership with the UK-SVG Friendship Trust. The bank stands in solidarity with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and will help to rebuild the nation in whatever way possible”
Mr. Porter also highlighted that “The St. Vincent co-operative bank is known as the peoples bank because of its good track record of accountability, trust and a people centric focus. It is because of this we can forge these types of partnerships to ensure that those who are most in need can have access to the help they deserve.
The La Soufriere volcano began erupting explosively on April 9, 2021 after months of continued effusive eruptions which began on December 27, 2020. The explosive eruptions have led to the displacement of thousands of people who live near the volcano and have significantly destroyed agriculture and infrastructure, mainly in the northern region of St. Vincent.
Please continue to follow us on our social media platforms for further updates.
The SVG Red Cross is set to receive a 40ft container from the Caribbean Veterans Community and the Royal Navy Association for distribution to individuals and communities affected by the La Soufriere volcanic eruption. The container will be carrying 32 pallets of aid including mattresses, hospital mattresses, medical supplies, PPE, sanitary products, health care workers uniforms, children clothing and activity kits, hand sanitisers and toiletries. Recognising the urgent need for these relief supplies, the Trust is paying the shipping and handling fees from the UK to St. Vincent ensuring that we collaborate with like-minded organisations as part of our disaster relief mandate.
Help us reach £250K!
We are now closer than ever before to reaching our £250,000 target that was set only 3 weeks ago! Over 7000 donors have contributed to the success of our funding appeal and we are grateful for your support. Now, we must work together for that last big push to get over the finish line! At the time of writing, we need a further £2,252.00. We can get there if you commit as little as £5 or ask a friend to tell a friend to be a friend! If you know someone who hasn’t donated then please reach out by sharing our GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/90dbdc94 along with our blog at the following link Blog – UK SVG Friendship Trust detailing what we are doing with your hard earned money that is gifted to us.
We know that the road ahead will be long so while we will reflect on the achievement of crossing the £250K mark soon, we are cognisant that the road to recovery will be bumpy as we approach the hurricane season next month. We are not sure what the recovery will look like or how long it will take. What is certain is that the needs of our families and friends will move beyond nutrition. In a prolonged crisis, the mental health and well-being of everyone including responders through psychosocial support must be prioritised. Our children must also not be left behind. We are happy that many individuals who work in this space has reached out to us to help create initiatives to tackle this problem.
The UK-SVG Friendship Trust will be on the front line for the duration of the crisis with your continued help. We doubly commit to you that our aid will benefit the people directly affected and/or displaced by the volcanic eruption.
We wish to see more of you on our social media pages as it helps us to keep you updated. Join us using any of our links found here: @UKSVGFRIENDS | Linktree
Many donors who are giving to our cause have been sharing their motivation on the GoFundMe platform or have been directly emailing us.
As we see the messages on a daily basis, we can’t help but share the sentiments and the emotions as expressed which fortifies our resolve to see our mission through.
So, whether you have contributed £2500 as top donor John or £1600 as Leif or simply 9 days of giving £20 as Yvonne has been doing, we know that you have been moved by the circumstances at home in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Below are some of the reasons why our donors have shared this journey with us:
Angela – “Volcano, Ash fallout, Flood, Mudslide. You need some peace. Hope it calms soon.”
Paul- “I donated because an old schoolfriend Gaius Douglas shared this gofundme page, well done Gaius!”
Rose- “This is a donation on behalf of my mother-in-law , Rose Sawh, who thinks all Vincentians are lovely.”
Mayowa- “Praying for immediate and longer term relief for all affected. Thanks to my friend ECU, a proud British Vincie for telling me so much over the years, about this beautiful island. God bless”
Michael- “I saw a video on the BBC website today (26 April) where an UN Official said that St Vincent could soon be facing a humanitarian disaster, as it’s nearly hurricane season, on top of the ash decimating crops. It’s heartbreaking to see.”
Richard- “Charity begins at home and we strongly believe that it would be a denial of justice for us not to stretch out a helping hand to the people of Saint Vincent, in their hour of need. This donation has been made on behalf of the members of Abner Lodge No. 81, London.)
Carolyn- “My Vincentian people are some of the most warm and caring people on Earth. At this time of crisis and tragedy that care will be wrapped back around you from near and far. Our thoughts are constantly with you. To the beloved land of my birth, from Carolyn, Ole and Jann”
Malika- “I have donated because this means a lot as a Caribbean woman and a human being and I want to help in any way I can”
David- “My wife and I visited SVG a couple of years ago and were blown away by the beauty of the island, and the friendliness of the people we encountered. We wish you good luck in the coming weeks and months… and hope some normality is restored soon…”
Frances- “This should have far more mainstream news exposure 🙁 it’s shocking that the only way the UK knows about this is from social media”
Whatever the reasons, our hearts are united and our faith will see us through this situation.
Thank you to all our donors and those who have shared this link or simply raised it as part of your daily conversation.