Less than a week after Hurricane Ivan's monstrous waves and torrential rains smashed homes, uprooted trees and killed at least 20 people in Jamaica, Christian relief agencies such as World Vision and its Caribbean partner, Food for the Poor, are delivering medical supplies, blankets, plastic sheeting, water purification tablets, and water containers to Jamaicans affected by the storm.
"It may seem like a simple task to put a flight like this together, but there are many people and tremendous details to be covered to send a plane filled with appropriate emergency supplies to a disaster site," said GIK (Gifts-In-Kind) Field Relations Manager David Derr, who accompanied a DC-8 cargo plane from Denver to Miami to Kingston.
The shipment was unloaded by Food for the Poor staff and distributed the following morning in the worst affected areas of Jamaica along the southwestern coast, specifically around the original capital city of Jamaica, Spanish Town. Food for the Poor Medical Coordinator Patrice Charles-Freeman said, "There was need for medical supplies even before the hurricane. God truly answered prayer with this partnership with World Vision."
Some of the medical supplies, provided for the emergency by MAP (Medical Assistance Programs) International, were immediately handed over to Spanish Town Hospital. The CEO of the medical center, Pauline Reid, said, "We thank God for this partnership with Food for the Poor and wish World Vision God's continued blessing and our thanks."
World Vision reported that there was much talk in Jamaica about God's hand in the sudden left turn Hurricane Ivan made when everyone believed it was aiming directly at Kingston. Although the eye of the storm skirted the southwestern shore of the island, it still unleashed its fury, killing at least seventeen people and destroying hundreds of homes.
"There wasn't one major area of devastation," said World Vision LACRO Relief Director Carolyn Rose-Avila. "Instead Jamaica has pockets of major damage and the scattered affect of the storm has made it even more difficult to assess."
Five days after the hurricane hit, the coordinated relief effort is still assessing the full damage.
Meanwhile Canadian foreign ministry recently announced that it would be donating one million dollars (770,000 US dollars) to Caribbean nations violently struck by Hurricane Ivan.
Canada's contribution to Grenada, Jamaica, Cuba and other affected nations will be distributed through the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies (IFRC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and CARE Canada, the ministry said.
The money will be used to provide shelter, clean water and first aid.
With this new contribution, Canada has provided 1.7 million dollars (1.3 million US dollars) to victims of Ivan, which left at least 108 dead in the United States and the Caribbean in a 12-day rampage.