Latest Update (10/9): Medical supplies and care provided for hundreds in villages around Dominica
The past few days since my last update have been a bit blurry. Thanks to some great support from what has turned out to be a large collaboration of people and groups, I would like to summarize the events.
Since my last update, two flights have been made in the Gulfstream Cargo-liner, which were underwritten by a donor and sourced by Paul Weismann. You may recall, Paul allowed us to go on the first trip in his Citation 560, and it was at that moment we realized, "we need a bigger boat!"
These latest flights included medical and food supplies that were requested by a medical team from Your Caribbean Nation. We collaborated with Tasha Roberts who put together a team of nearly 40 doctors and nurses and we were very happy to play a role. The team did some amazing work under very trying circumstances; some of the team is still on the ground and will be supplemented by a new wave of docs/nurses arriving very soon. Many of the villages they serviced had not seen any medical or food relief due to the overwhelming need for government staff in other areas. The team treated hundreds of patients with everything from broken bones to sepsis, and other more minor ailments. They reported many infected open wounds were treated and oral antibiotics given to combat infections.
Your financial support has allowed us to purchase many items to go along with the donated goods we've received. Some of these items include: specialty medical supplies, hundreds of pounds of food (such as rice, beans, canned goods, etc), flashlights/batteries, lanterns, sat phones, and more.
The situation in Dominica remains dire. Doctors from the team report that unless something changes very soon to the contrary, there will most decidedly be a humanitarian health crisis. Conditions such as Dengue fever (due to the lack of ability to spray for mosquitos), sepsis from infected wounds due to lack of antibiotics, gastrointestinal, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, malaria skin diseases and respiratory allergies are all potential diseases which are caused by the garbage piles throughout the country.
Dominica, like Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, still needs our support. We will continue to assist them until the need is no longer necessary.
We are hopeful that at some point soon we can shift from the emergency type of flights to the island, to more sustainable methods of transport, such as in shipping containers for bulk items.
We are now working on the schedule and aircraft for the next flights down. Most importantly for our next flight down, we will be carrying a filtration system for the water supply at Princess Margaret in Roseau, the main hospital on the island.
Thank you to Ambassador Jonathan Brown and Wayne Studwick from Macknight Food Group for your great, truck-sized donations of food. I would also like to thank all of you have donated monetarily or provided goods from our donation list. These relief flights could not happen without your continued support!
- Gary -
Very few places on Earth have the ability to seep into your soul as does the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. For me, and for many others, these islands hold a special place in the world. They’ve affected my life in many positive ways, from my first visit in the 1970s as a boy to my extended cruising voyage in the 90s, when I was lucky enough to see the incredible reactions of my young daughters when introduced to the beauty of the islands. Over the years, I’ve heard stories from many friends who’ve had similar experiences.
This is a very sad time for those of us fortuitous enough to have traveled and lived in these cherished places. As we continue to watch this dreaded hurricane season unfold, we’re faced with witnessing how our years of usual ‘near misses’ were not in the cards this year.
On September 6th, when Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean, she ravaged many islands in the Lesser Antilles, including the BVIs, USVIs, Dominica, and St Martin. Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic, with winds reaching over 220 miles per hour. In the wake of Irma, Hurricane Maria has caused widespread devastation in Dominica and continues moving through the Caribbean. This unprecented hurricane season has resulted in tragic loss of life as well as large-scale damage to homes and livehoods for thousands of islanders.
As an aircraft pilot, I am raising funds to help out with the recovery in the hardest hit areas. I’ve already called on some pilot friends who are familiar with the islands and are eager to donate their time and aircraft to make recovery aide trips down island. I’ve also been in contact with relief organizations on the ground to evaluate the best steps moving forward.
Many of you know my daughter Christina Karp (formerly Smith - hard for me to get used to calling her that!). She has been intimately involved in disaster response work with several NGOs around the world and will be assisting with this endeavor. She and her husband have one core belief when doing this type of work, which not to waste valuable funds donated by so many caring individuals. To apply them efficiently and in a way that has a direct impact for those in need.
I’ve learned a lot from witnessing mistakes made during response efforts taken after Hurricane Irene in the Bahamas. Most importantly, how invaluable it is to have boots on the ground to see exactly what is needed before purchasing goods.
For this endeavor, we are working independently without an allegiance to one specific organization, giving us the flexibility to choose the organizations and relief efforts we feel are answering the direct needs of affected communities in the best possible way. With this approach to giving, you can be certain that 100% of what we receive will go towards response efforts, as we have no ‘overhead’ and anyone involved will be doing so as a volunteer. We are also covering our own travel expenses. I thought it important to mention as it is of the utmost importance to me and others involved.
We’ve set a lofty initial goal and encourage those who want to get involved in the hurricane response in the Caribbean to donate to our efforts. We will be posting routine updates on exactly how your donations are being used to help, so you can remain as involved as possible.
As boaters, we love the island culture that our Caribbean neighbors have shared with us and are committed to standing by them in their time of need.
Your support is received in a very heartfelt way and I wish to say thank you!
Want to get involved? Contact me directly:
[phone redacted] or email me: [email redacted].
How you can help:-DONATE: Make a donation to our relief fund today-SHARE: Share this link to spread the word!
-FUNDRAISE: Contact Gary to learn how you can raise funds to support hurricane survivors.
- Brent Whitehead
- Dede Bond
- Anna Larina
- Cleo Smith
- Nick Bischoff
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