On Wednesday, the first aircraft carrying 21 tons of humanitarian aid sent by the IFRC arrived in Antigua to support families affected by Hurricane Irma. This cargo will meet the basic needs of 500 families in Antigua and Barbuda, and St Kitts and Nevis.

Stephany Murillo, Logistics Manager at IFRC in Panama, said the initial response had been complicated by geography but aid was getting through. “This operation represented a logistical challenge, because of the complexity of the coordination between several destinations,” she said. “After the impact of a hurricane, weather conditions make air traffic difficult, we were able to solve this matter quickly and help could be sent from Panama.”

The humanitarian aid sent to help people affected consists of kitchen kits, hygiene kits, tarpaulins, blankets and mosquito nets. This assistance will be distributed to 300 families in Antigua and Barbuda, and in St Kitts and Nevis 200 families will receive support.

Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross President, Michael Joseph, was very optimistic with the arrival of humanitarian aid and said they would make sure families got the assistance as soon as possible.

Reliable power

The IFRC also sent generators to the National Societies to ensure they could continue their operations regardless of the stability of the power supply.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 99 per cent of infrastructure in Barbuda was affected by Hurricane Irma, and that 90 per cent of the electrical systems were damaged. The hospital in Barbuda suffered severe damage and currently incapable of offering medical services. In St. Kitts and Nevis, much of the infrastructure of the island has been damaged, making access to clean water supplies a priority.