Hey everyone,

I’m sharing this heartfelt message from Cheryl at Ginger Marketing for Islanders affected by Hurricane Irma. Please help if you can, nothing is too little or too much.

hurricane irma

Image: A street is flooded as Hurricane Irma passes through Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Source: NBC News

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This morning I have something to ask totally unrelated to Content Marketing.  I’m asking for your support to help Islanders who have been affected by Hurricane Irma.

Like a lot of people I’ve been following the news about Hurricane Irma this weekend.  Concerned for the people whose path it crossed.

Sometimes it’s difficult to really connect with, or understand what other people on the other side of the world are going through.

From my side, I do have some frame of reference, as I watch the horrendous footage.

On a family holiday to Antigua when I was about 10 or 11 we were caught in a Hurricane. I don’t know what the category was, it was no-where near level 4 or 5. Probably category 2 or 3 I’d say just looking at the live footage from Irma.

My mum told me recently, the hotel staff came to our room to take me and my brother down to a shelter for all of the children in the hotel.  Apparently, (being an indignant little kid – not much has changed!) I refused to go because then my mum would be alone by herself in the hotel room, (being a single mum, my parents are divorced).

So, us three were there in our hotel room.  My mum & my little 8-year-old brother playing cards on the bed.  Me, running around the room blocking out the water, worried about the electrics! (No-one told me all the electricity was off)

20 years later I still remember how scary it was and how scared I was.

Looking out into the wind, seeing bits of stuff occasionally fly by.

Looking at how powerful the hurricane was, and knowing how powerless we were.

During the eye of the storm we went down to the hotel foyer to grab our emergency packs of food.  The hotel was totally flooded, we were wading to just below our knees in water.

People were taking stuff from the shop downstairs, entire crates of drinks and sweets and crisps. The hotel wouldn’t be able to sell the stuff anyway.   My mum let us take a crate of skittles and a crate of diet coke.

We went back up to the room with our emergency packs, our skittles and our diet coke to weather out the rest of the hurricane.

I think it was over pretty quick because I don’t remember sleeping.

When it was finally over we went outside to a scene I will never ever forget.

Antigua is an island that will take your breath away.  Before the hurricane, it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  After the hurricane, it was devastated.  Trees were down everywhere, bits of stuff, building materials, huge palm leaves & waste and rubbish were just strewn everywhere.

All of the hotel buildings were still standing. Of course, they had been built to withstand hurricanes. Although flooded the water could be easily drained out onto the floor.

The hotel staff were straight out there fixing everything back up again.

That day we had a bus tour of the island booked in. The hotel management decided, since the hotel & beach was destroyed and we couldn’t carry on our holiday, we should go on this Island tour and do some sightseeing.

I will never forget that tour & how awful I felt.

There we were the foreign tourists, who could afford to come on holiday half way across the world to a stunning destination like Antigua.  Our holiday had been inconvenienced by a hurricane,  poor, poor us, weathering the hurricane in a hurricane proof building with skittles, diet coke & emergency packs of food.

Now here we are in our tour bus taking pictures of the locals literally building their houses back up again.

I saw one person trying to collect his corrugated iron roof from half way up a hill.

His roof flew off half way through the hurricane, where was he and his family?   Were they there, stuck under a raging hurricane trying to tie themselves down to the ground?

The rest of the bus were taking photos, chatting loudly.  I just wanted to cry, curl up into a ball and disappear.

A group of teenage kids sat on a wall as we drove by, swearing at us.

All I could think was “I’m not bloody surprised.”

Whilst watching the footage of Hurricane Irma I am most interested in the difference between the small Islands and the areas like Florida and Key West.

When you listen to the people from the small British and virgin islands, they talk about people having to tie themselves to their houses so they didn’t fly into the middle of the hurricane.

When you listen to the people from Key West they talk about having to tie down their yacht.

So, I have to do something, at least what I can to help those people living on the Islands.  This hurricane is going to affect them in more serious ways & they need support!

Right now is the time to act, in a few weeks everyone will have moved onto the next story and those people will be left to rebuild their lives again.

I’ve been doing some research into the different funds and charities collecting.   There is one fund that has been set up by a former resident of one of the islands, NBA Player Tim Duncan.

He put in $250,000 himself and the total raised so far is $942,131.

This fund is going directly to the residents on the islands to help them rebuild their villages and cities.

RELIEF FUND: http://bit.ly/virgin-island-relief

I also urge you, if you can, share this with your audience as well. Just a simple email or a social media share can make a huge impact.

The time has come when in all matters, not just this one, we have to act, we have to do something and realize that it is our duty to do what we can.

How long can we continue to say “someone else will sort that”.

Wishing you a safe Sunday.

Cheryl

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Have a comment about Hurricane Irma or any other natural disasters, please leave your thoughts below.