By Elizabeth Guybert, Rotary Club of Grande Terre Pointe Des Châteaux, Guadeloupe, French West Indies
In April, the successive eruptions of the Soufrière volcano devastated part of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, leading to an urgent evacuation of the population from the affected areas.
While humanitarian aid was pouring in from all sides in a show of solidarity, the government, associations, and veterinary services were trying as best they could to help the animals that the inhabitants and farmers had to leave behind. With the pastures and shelters totally devastated by the weight of the ash and its toxicity, it was our job as Rotary members, after having contributed financially to the humanitarian aid, to organize a large-scale collection for the animals. There were 25,000 animals in need of water, food, medicine, and shelter.
Volcanic ash left 25,000 animals without water, food, medicine, and shelter. Rotarians raised more than $140,000 for 200 tons of goods.
And so our club, in consultation with our friends at the Rotary Club of Lamentin in Martinique, took the initiative to carry out this project with the help of authorities and professionals in the field, the media, and the support of the Rotary Club of Kourou in Guyana.
We are very proud to have been able, thanks to the solidarity between Caribbean countries, to show our dedication and effectiveness. On 5 June, more than 200 tons of goods with an estimated cost of 120,000 Euros (about $143,000) left our islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique in the direction of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Thank you to all those who participated and are still participating in the online collection. We are very grateful to you.