Caribbean disaster relief group to be launched

By Lincoln DePradine

Frances Delsol is head of the Caribbean Consular Corps

The death and destruction resulting from recent natural disasters in the Caribbean, including earthquakes in Haiti, and hurricanes that struck English-speaking Caribbean nations, has spurred action not only by regional governments but also  by people from the Caribbean residing in Toronto.

One of the initiatives is the formation of the Canadian Caribbean Disaster Relief Action (CCaDiRA), an umbrella organization that describes its main function as coordinating “disaster preparedness, relief, emergency and response activities between the Caribbean Diaspora in Canada and the Caribbean region’’.

The objectives of the organization also include making “official representation’’ on behalf of the region, “when  several countries are affected’’ by a disaster.

CCaDiRA, whose motto is “We Are In It Together’’, says it is working closely with the Caribbean Consular Corps in Toronto,  now headed by Dominica’s Frances Delsol.

At the encouragement of the organization, nationals of six Caribbean nations – Grenada, Dominica, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana and St Lucia – have established disaster relief committees of their own. They all are represented on CCaDiRA.

Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, hit the Bahamas last September, killing at least 70 people and leaving many more missing. Property damage amounted to billions of dollars.

In 2017, Hurricane Maria that flattened Dominica, resulting in the loss of 65 lives.

CCaDiRA officials, who now are planning a public launch, say they will will update attendees on ” the needs and activities” of the organization, and outline ways in which assistance can be provided in the disaster relief undertaking for the Caribbean.

The launch will take place at the Scarborough Civic Centre, 150 Town Centre Court ,on Saturday March 21.

Dominica-based Dr Sybil Allen-Jones, a researcher with her own consulting and counselling business, is the guest speaker for the event.