Support to Local Habitat for Humanity

IMG_5612.jpg

GER3 supported a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity by bringing tornado recovery supplies to Amherst County, Virginia. After being hit by an EF 2 tornado on April 15, the county is still recovering and rebuilding the over 140 houses and structures severely damaged by the storm. Volunteers Margaret and Thomas Bacon helped load a truck provided by GER3 in Winchester and transported the donations to the Habitat in Amherst County.

Wrapping up Support to the Waitt Foundation in Barbuda

GER3 staff have officially returned home after providing over four months of support to the Waitt Foundation in Antigua and Barbuda.

The Waitt Foundation has been operating in Antigua and Barbuda since 2014, providing resources and expertise to help conserve the islands' ocean resources. After Hurricane Irma struck Barbuda on September 6th 2017, Waitt converted its resources to provide recovery services for the affected population through the Barbuda Recovery and Conservation Trust (BRC Trust).

With support from GER3 day-to-day operational leadership, the BRC Trust operation has employed over 30 Barbudan workers, transported 828 people back to Barbuda and provided over 300 people with social services. BRC Trust programs also helped to support two Barbudan restaraunts, sponsored over 80 Barbudan children living in Antigua to attend a swimming and football camp, and helped to feed and shelter over 130 dogs abandoned on the island after the storm.

For more information, please visit the GER Projects Page.

Re-Initiation of Haiti Operations

GER3 reinitiated its Hurricane Matthew Sustainable Tree Recovery program in select communities of Dame Marie, Haiti in early 2018, thanks to a generous contribution from the MacFarlane Foundation. In just under two months the team has successfully cleared over 450 square meters of fallen trees and created 300 wooden planks from recovered wood. Eighty percent of these planks are given to the landowner to rebuild structures and livelihoods, while the remaining planks are given to local municipalities to fashion into structures for schools, health centres and communities. The program is estimated to have over 1,000 beneficiaries, including paid workers, landowners, staff and community members affected by the storm.

See pictures from the operation at the GER3 Projects Page.

Assessment Team Deploys to US Virgin Islands

GER3 will be sending an assessment team to the US Virgin Island on Wednesday, October 11th in partnership with J/P Haitian Relief Organization. Tim Williams (tim.williams@ger3.org) and Jason Riffe (jason@jphro.org) will arrive at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in Saint Croix with the equipment required to immediately begin evaluating the needs of affected communities, and how GER3 may be able to support recovery efforts.

Support to Sint Maarten Continues

Yesterday, the GER3 team successfully recovered 9 classrooms at the Leonard Connor School. Working in partnership with Tzu Chi, GER3 provided technical guidance, supervision and supplies, while Tzu Chi provided volunteers and food/water. As a result of GER3's intervention, the teachers and workers will now have access to their classrooms to prepare for reopening next Monday. In addition, the Ministry of Education was able to send contractors to the school to start repairing windows, something it was unable to do before due to access issues.

Today the team will focus on a household, previously identified by GER3, that is in desperate need of debris removal. The residents are elderly and handicapped, and have remained in their home amongst the debris with only a partial roof. GER3 will work with Tzu Chi to remove the debris from the house and restore their home as quickly as possible.

Photos of debris removal at Leonard Connor School:

Update from the Caribbean

GER3 conducted several rapid assessments, attended insightful shelter meetings, and is now working with communities to identify greatest needs. Yesterday, the team worked closely with the Tzu Chi foundation Sint Maarten, distributing food in the Sucker Garden community. Today they will be clearing debris at the Leonard Connor School in Cay Bay, in hopes of reopening the school on October 2nd.

Team Deploys to Sint Maarten

A two-person GER3 team headed from Curaçao to Sint Maarten this morning to immediately begin assessments. After receiving insight from Netherlands Red Cross members on current relief efforts, the GER3 team will arrive prepared to hit the ground running. They will attend their first coordination meeting tonight. More updates to come. A two-person team will be deploying to Sint Maarten this Friday, September 15th to assess damages from Hurricane Irma and how GER can best plug into relief efforts. The team is expected to arrive in Simpson Bay around 1:00pm on Friday with all the kit required to immediately begin work assessing the situation on the Caribbean island.

If you are interested in partnering with GER3 on this operation or have any questions about the deployment, please reach out to GER3 CEO Steve McAndrew at steve.mcandrew@ger3.org or Sint Maarten assessment Team Leader Brennan Banks at brennan.banks@ger3.org.

GER Team on Standby for Deployment

GER is monitoring the current emergency situations in the Caribbean, US and Mexico.  For Hurricane Irma,  GER has standby teams prepared for deployment to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Haiti and also has staff in Florida at this time.  In response to the Chiapas Earthquake in southern Mexico, GER has activated team members from its Spanish-speaking roster of emergency responders, including programmanagers and assessment specialists. GER has also been in touch with partners to share current planning, including Engineers Without Borders and donors who are interested in the various affected countries and areas.

Further updates will be shared in the coming days.

Support Operations in Houston Continue

GER3 is responding to Hurricane Harvey in Houston. A GER3 response team is on the ground with vehicles, boats, equipment and supplies for affected families. The GER3 team is working directly with families in the metropolitan Houston area.

SUNP0020 (1).jpg

GER3 has been supporting families starting the recovery process and putting their lives back together. Support includes the provision cleaning kits for families to help return to their homes after flood waters have receded.

IMG_4504 2 (1).jpg

GER3 cleaning kits contain various items to help families clean up and disinfect homes upon return. The kits contain several pairs of rubber gloves for protection while cleaning, a strong push broom, a string mop for heavy cleaning and a sponge mop for cleaning finished floods. Further items include a large trash can, a bucket, rags, sponges and chlorine. Chlorine is one of the most important items as the cleaning of disease-carrying residue and dust can still be dangerous, especially for young children. The kits also provide large, heavy-duty trash bags and masks for further protection.

The cleaning kits are being used together with GER3 volunteers in debris removal from homes. Homeowners are overwhelmed in removing ruined clothing, photos, furniture and extensive belongings that have been destroyed in the flooding.

IMG_0927.jpg

GER3 has also been providing water pumping services to help families in flooded houses lower and remove standing and contaminated water, which is a creating a serious health concern as mosquitos are breeding other sicknesses are developing in the standing pools. Some houses have swimming pools which are now dangerous vector breeding grounds, and also low lying areas and rooms where contaminated floods waters are still lingering.

20170903_103630 (1).jpg

GER3 has also been working with some families to help in the identification, treatment and remediation of mold. Mold is now presenting a significant challenge to families returning home after flooding. Although water has resided, mold is now found behind drywall, in foundations and floors of homes. GER3 is supporting families to test for mold, identify solutions, and make decisions on repairs and return timeframes. The support involves coordinating and covering costs for local mold testing specialists to review homes, provide expert opinions on when and what items to remove or repair further before moving back in.

Lastly, GER3 has been providing some cash grants to families, giving them the power of decision making and prioritizing their needs, such as food, medicine, school supplies, toys or any other immediate needs.

The GER3 response to Hurricane Harvey provides families with the comfort that they are not alone and that there are people, including our donors, who care and will work together, shoulder to shoulder, in these difficult times. As in all actions of help, the benefits go far beyond kits, supplies and services, to demonstrate the higher qualities of humanity and human cooperation among all persons.