CHARITY: Grenada hurricane victims appeal

In a first for THCB I’m asking readers to help the victims of Hurricane Ivan. My college friend Paula Robinson is having a great year off sailing the Caribbean with her boyfriend John. Great that is until last week when they chose to ride out the hurricane season in the supposedly safe climes of Grenada. Paula and John are now safe in Trinidad. Here’s Paula’s email:

We’re safe and well in Trinidad now despite Hurricane Ivan hitting Grenada while we were there. Thankyou all so much for your kind messages of concern and sorry to give you all so much stress waiting for news from us but as you can imagine all the phone lines and power was (and still is largely) cut off in Grenada. I used one of the other boat’s satellite phones to get a message through to my dad on Wednesday but only managed to leave half a garbled message. He then found the website listing all the boats that were in the area including the brief but satisfying comment “Yellow Bird in Secret Harbour – floating”.

Grenada however is seriously trashed from one end to the other and really suffering with 60,000 people estimated to have lost their homes and that means literally blown away. We were advised that since we were afloat we should push off somewhere else rather than stay and try to help as we’d only add to the shortages of food and water.

We arrived in Trinidad yesterday and are counting our blessings to have come through Hurricane Ivan in one piece. Rather too close for comfort. We had decided to stay in Grenada as the weather reports suggested Ivan was going to track north and we’d only get storm conditions. However when Ivan changed his mind and headed directly for Grenada it was too late to run. We anchored the boat and went ashore to spend 3 nights in a hotel, hoping for the best. Then Ivan whipped himself into a frenzy and became a category 5 hurricane; on a scale of 1-5 that’s the strongest category so it could not have been worse. Also the hurricane scored a direct hit on Grenada which has not been hit at all by any hurricane for 50 years. We still can’t quite believe we’re both fine and the boat has only suffered minor damage where another boat bashed into it.

When we get our breath back we’ll bore the pants off all of you with our wild hurricane stories, but for now “we be chilling, man”. Love to all at home and will give you the full story when we’ve got our heads round it all and thanks again for all the messages.

Meanwhile those poor people need all the help they can get. We’ve been helping load boxes of stores onto boats here in Trinidad that are heading off for Grenada tomorrow but it’s just a drop in the ocean and they need serious amounts of aid — including just the basics like water and food.

While Paula and John were lucky, 60,000 of Grenada’s 90,000 people were not and are homeless. The Red Cross has launched an appeal for $1.4m and is delivering aid already. Please consider donating. If everyone who reads TCHB gives up the price of a cup of coffee, we’d cover over 1% of the amount needed. To donate click here, or you can paypal the money to me at matthew@matthewholt.com and I’ll deliver it. Thanks.

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