Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s southwestern coast at nearly Category 5 strength on Wednesday afternoon, with sustained winds of up to 150 miles per hour and catastrophic storm surges, after knocking out power and killing at least two people in Cuba. Over a million in Florida have lost electricity so far, while the city of Fort Myers took a near-direct hit as Ian blew ashore, with footage showing houses in the area detached from their foundations and drifting in the rising floodwaters.
The good news is, relief organizations throughout the state and the Caribbean are already assisting those in need and workers on the ground. Here are a few mutual aid and humanitarian groups able to directly respond in the region during this crisis — with the help of volunteers and donations.
Disaster Relief at Work, or DRAW, is a 10-year-old nonprofit based in Michigan whose members travel far and wide around the U.S. to provide relief services in areas hit by floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. The organization is already in Florida to help, and it is accepting cash donations as well as donations for specific buckets of essential supplies.
Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic
The humanitarian organization Project HOPE has been working in Puerto Rico since the island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The nonprofit also provided relief to the victims of Hurricane Fiona there and in the Dominican Republic earlier this month. It will continue recovery efforts in the Caribbean after Ian. More information is available here.
The Hispanic Federation has also been on the ground in Puerto Rico, supplying aid in the wake of Hurricane Fiona as communities rebuild. The organization has contacts with groups in the Dominican Republic to support local relief efforts there. Here’s their page for targeted contributions.
For a more direct way of giving, GoFundMe has a list of verified fundraisers on behalf of families and villages in both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico who are still recovering from Hurricane Fiona. You can sort these charity drives by location and see which are still short of their goal.
Hurricane Ian hit Cuba as the island was already contending with blackouts and food shortages. The nonprofit humanitarian group Direct Relief has sent emergency and medical supplies to Havana, as well as a dozen areas in Florida. Here’s where you can contribute to their efforts.
The People’s Forum, a group dedicated to helping “working class and marginalized communities to build unity across historic lines of division at home and abroad,” is accepting donations to support Cubans affected by Hurricane Ian. Give what you can here.