Torrential rains and severe winds battered the Caribbean Islands of St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica for over 24 hours between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day devastating rural communities and banana production. The government has declared this a level 2 disaster, meaning that they now need external support to respond to the destruction caused by the storm. Our partner, the Caribbean Farmer's Association, WINFA, are appealing for help on behalf of the estimated 700 small farmers affected.
Floods and landslides severely damaged roads, bridges, sanitation supplies and housing. Hospitals have been flooded and several people lost their lives. The agricultural sector - root crops, vegetables and banana production - also suffered huge losses, threatening the livelihoods of thousands.
Most Caribbean banana production is certified Fairtrade and these small family farmers export all of their bananas to the UK. During the storm 700 farms were flattened by flood waters. WINFA estimate, for example, that 36% of banana production on St. Lucia has been affected. Pack houses and other infrastructure and supplies necessary for Fairtrade production and export have been damaged. Storm damage has also resulted in heavy soil loss and communities now have limited access to drinking water. Agricultural workers have no short term income. These family farmers need planting materials and seeds, basic supplies such as water, food and clothing, equipment to remove hazards and salvage re-usable resources (including safety equipment, tools, chain saws etc.) as well as training in sustainable land use and soil and water conservation.
Donate now to help family farmers respond to this disaster and replant their crops. Support farmers in the Windwards to continue growing Fairtrade as we here in the UK campaign to Make Bananas Fair in 2014!!