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World Vision Provides Assistance for Hurricane Victims in Jamaica

By Steve Matthews, WVI Global Rapid Response Team

Updated September 20, 2004

A family in Jamaica receives a hygiene kit from World Vision. Photo by David Derr, GIK Field Relations Manager, World Vision U.S.

Kingston, Jamaica - Less than a week after Hurricane Ivan hammered sections of Jamaica, World Vision and its Caribbean partner, Food for the Poor, delivered medical supplies, blankets, plastic sheeting, water purification tablets, and water containers to Jamaicans affected by the storm. David Derr, GIK Field Relations Manager, accompanied a DC-8 cargo plane from Denver to Miami to Kingston.

"It may seem like a simple task to put a flight like this together, but there are many people and tremendous details to be covered to send a plane filled with appropriate emergency supplies to a disaster site," said Derr.

The shipment was unloaded by Food for the Poor staff and distributed the following morning in the worst affected areas of Jamaica along the southwestern coast, specifically around the original capital city of Jamaica, Spanish Town. Food for the Poor Medical Coordinator Patrice Charles-Freeman said, "There was need for medical supplies even before the hurricane. God truly answered prayer with this partnership with World Vision." Some of the medical supplies, provided for the emergency by MAP International, were immediately handed over to Spanish Town Hospital. The CEO of the medical centre, Pauline Reid, said, "We thank God for this partnership with Food for the Poor and wish World Vision God's continued blessing and our thanks."

There was much talk in Jamaica about God's hand in the sudden left turn Hurricane Ivan made when everyone believe it was aiming directly at Kingston. The eye of the storm skirted the southwestern shore of the island, but still unleashed its fury, killing at least 17 people and destroying hundreds of homes. "There wasn't one major area of devastation," said World Vision's Caribbean relief director, Carolyn Rose-Avila. "Instead Jamaica has pockets of major damage and the scattered effect of the storm has made it even more difficult to assess." Five days after the hurricane hit, the coordinated relief effort is still assessing the full damage.

Meanwhile the island of Grenada remains devastated. World Vision's Carolyn Rose-Avila is working toward relief for Grenada in the coming week.

A Jamaican woman scrambles to save a few precious things after Hurricane Ivan, with wind gusts of 150 mph, reduced her home to rubble. (AP Photo)

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