UPDATE: Shipping books to support Caribbean hurricane recovery
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda as a Category Five storm, devastating the island. It was followed just a few days later by Hurricane Jose and Hurricane Maria shortly after Jose.
The hurricanes went on to inflict destruction on other islands in the Caribbean. The British Virgin Islands, Dominica and the Turks and Caicos all suffered heavy damage.
Thousands of people in the Caribbean are still unable to return home following Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. Many schools, libraries and other public institutions were destroyed, and many books were lost along with those schools and libraries.
At Book Aid International, we are committed to supporting communities where books have been lost to disaster. We are now working with library services in the affected islands to make selections of brand new books to replace those lost and to offer displaced children the joy and comfort of reading.
The books we are sending
We have sent a donation of 1,600 books to the National Public Library of Antigua and Barbuda. 90% of buildings on Barbuda were destroyed and almost all of its 1,500 residents were evacuated to the sister island of Antigua. This book donation will support in particular Barbudan and Dominican children who have been taken into schools on Antigua to continue their education.
We will also send 2,000 books to help the island of Dominica begin rebuilding its library service in early 2018. Dominica was the first island to feel the full force of Hurricane Maria and 90% of its structures were damaged or destroyed. Two of the four public libraries on the island were severely damaged and over 25,000 books lost.
Plans for the future
As part of our Vision 2020, we are committed to ensuring that people affected by disaster or forced to flee their homes have access to books. Moving forward, we will continue to work with our partners in the Caribbean to help hurricane affected communities cope with displacement and rebuild their communities.