Team Rubicon volunteers are on the ground in the Turks and Caicos, The British Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbados. Now that our teams have completed much of the essential assessment work they can start identifying the vital tasks needed to help the islands devastated by Irma get back on their feet. On Tuesday, we will send 40 additional volunteers to the Caribbean to support this work.
Delivering the relief needed is very much reliant on great coordination, cooperation and communication and Team Rubicon has been working closely with local communities, government agencies, NGOs and the British military to provide both advice and practical help to the residents. Our volunteers are working alongside our partners, the international search and rescue charity Serve On.
“Our experienced teams are bringing relief and government agencies together with the affected population to ensure there is no duplication of effort and every dollar or item of material aid goes to where it’s needed most. Our experienced communicators are bringing people together across the islands and maintaining the vital link back to our mission hub in the U.K,” said Paul Taylor, a Team Rubicon UK volunteer and former soldier, in Barbados.
On Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, Team Rubicon UK volunteers met with Richard Branson, who is in the region coordinating relief efforts on behalf of the Virgin Group.
“Thanks for everything you do. It’s really inspiring,” Branson told the volunteers.
From clearing rubble from schools to distributing water purified by Serve On’s water purification system, Team Rubicon UK has inserted itself into the heart of this massive relief operation across the worst-hit Caribbean islands, maximising its volunteers’ unique skills and abilities and focusing on the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.
On Friday, two more joint Team Rubicon UK and Serve On teams arrived on the British Virgin Islands from Antigua after a short trip to Barbuda to assess the damage there. Barbuda took a direct hit from Irma and is virtually uninhabitable with the smell of dead animals hanging over the wrecked homes.
The volunteers are providing essential support to local authorities by helping to organise disparate relief efforts, coordinate local volunteers and arrange for aid supplies to be moved from Antigua and Barbados to the other islands. From fixing power supplies to unloading boxes of food from boats to clearing fallen trees and electricity poles from roads, the volunteers are doing whatever they can to bolster relief efforts.
Conditions are extremely challenging and even as the repair work continues, residents are battening down for the arrival of Hurricane Maria, which is threatening to hit the region as early as Monday night. This comes less than two weeks after Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded, battered the Caribbean and Florida, killing around 84 people, half of those in the Caribbean.
With Hurricane Maria threatening to wreak more havoc and disrupt relief efforts over the coming days, our staff are carefully monitoring the storm’s progression and helping islanders prepare for a second potential hit. The safety of our teams is a top priority and they are working with residents to secure already damaged buildings and shelters.