Over the last two days, Hurricane Irma has left a trail of devastation through the Caribbean. The Category 5 storm, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in history, has left at least 10 dead, and the number of victims is expected to increase.
Small islands in the northern Caribbean got the worst of the storm. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told The Associated Press that about 60% of Barbuda's 1,400 residents have become homeless due to the hurricane. St. Martin, St. Barts, Anguilla, St. Thomas, and St. John also got slammed. In Puerto Rico, the devastation was far less, but about 70% of the island is currently without electricity.
According to the current forecast, Irma will pass through the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas before reaching the continental U.S. by the weekend. The National Hurricane Center has predicted the storm will be a Category 4 or 5 by the time it approaches the state of Florida.
While states and territories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are likely to receive help from the U.S. government, other countries hit by Irma may not have the same support system. Relief and recovery efforts will take a long time, particularly if these places get hit by Hurricane Jose next. It's therefore crucial that organizations on the ground receive support — be it in the form of monetary donations, volunteering, or supplies.
On the heels of the devastation created by Hurricane Harvey, it can be overwhelming to figure out what can you do. To get you started, we've compiled a list of some organizations to consider for volunteering opportunities or donations. We'll continue to update this list throughout the week.
The American Red Cross needs volunteers in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
UNICEF is providing emergency relief and will help children affected by the hurricane resume their education in the coming months.
The Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross is providing support to victims in the Sister Isle.
ConPRmetidos, a local Puerto Rican nonprofit, is providing relief to communities impacted by the hurricane.
The nonprofit Convoy of Hope is helping victims in the British Virgin Islands and Haiti.
Oxfam has people on the ground to provide relief in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The crowdfunding website GlobalGiving wants to raise $2 million for relief and recovery efforts in regions affected by the hurricane.
Save The Children will provide relief efforts for families and children impacted by the storm.
The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster is registering volunteers to help in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other areas affected by Hurricane Irma.
SPCA International provides support to shelters and rescue groups working with animals affected by natural disasters.