01 Nov ServeOn receive our Action Fund money to support Caribbean Hurricane recovery
The generosity of the Superyacht community is helping get the Hurricane-ravaged people of the British Virgin Islands back on their feet
Expert volunteers from the British humanitarian response charity Serve On had launched a project to provide vital communications equipment for the islanders of Virgin Gorda and now Superyacht Charities have answered the call for funding.
It is part of a £25,000 cash boost Superyacht Charities hope to give those in the Caribbean affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The catastrophic winds which destroyed so many homes and businesses also wiped out all normal communications on Virgin Gorda so that what the residents need more than anything now, and in the future, is an emergency broadcast system to help coordinate relief efforts.
*The islanders desperately need digital radio communications for the emergency services and local Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR).
*They need an enduring FM radio capacity for public safety and information broadcasts.
*And they need a VHF marine radio system that links the whole island, and neighbouring islands, and not just Gorda’s capital Spanish Town.
That is where the Superyacht fraternity are so well-placed to come to the rescue, with cash and offers of equipment.
Experts from Serve On who rushed to the Caribbean to help in the aftermath of Irma have already moved mountains to pave the way for the vital communications links on Virgin Gorda.
They have given the local Recovery Operations Centre (VGROC) valuable help setting up an incident control system to manage their recovery, initiated the communications project and physically carved a path to the top of remote Gorda Peak for a repeater station to be sited to enable the FM and VHF radio links.
Now a new team of Serve On volunteers is on stand-by to return to Virgin Gorda to install the necessary transmitters and antennae, with £4,500 of financial backing from Superyacht Charities for equipment and £1,500 from Viking towards the cost of sending the experts.
Superyacht Charities trustee Ken Hickling said: “It is a great thing that Serve On is doing and we are excited to support it.
“We said we wanted to put some money into Hurricane relief and with such a worthwhile project already underway there is an immediate opportunity to help.
“It is not us – Superyacht Charities – being generous. We are merely operating as a conduit for the generosity of the Superyacht industry as a whole. All our donors and sponsors are the people who allow us to give funds to good causes like Serve On.
“The superyacht industry goes to the Caribbean a lot so the devastation caused there really does strike a chord and our people understand the value of the marine VHF in helping the islanders recover.”
Serve On Operations Manager Craig Elsdon said: “The local people are incredibly resilient but they can’t do everything on their own.