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The Kingdom Hall in Tortola before and after repairs. This Kingdom Hall was one of five in the British and U.S. Virgin Islands damaged by Hurricane Maria and the first to be repaired.

JANUARY 19, 2018
GLOBAL NEWS

Witnesses Accelerate Hurricane Relief Efforts

NEW YORK—Relief efforts are well underway following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated territories in and around the Caribbean in September 2017. The following information from the branch offices in Barbados, Cuba, Dominican Republic, France, and the United States gives details about the assistance our brothers are providing.

Barbados Branch Territories—Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Maarten (Dutch side)

Three disaster relief committees (DRCs), including one formed jointly with the branch in France, worked together to organize groups of local brothers and sisters to care for the immediate needs of the publishers affected by the hurricanes. Planned reconstruction work in the Barbados branch territories will cost an estimated $2.4 million and will include repairing 8 Kingdom Halls and 122 homes of our brothers. Another 19 homes will need to be completely rebuilt.

The Kingdom Hall in Grand Bay, Dominica, which was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria.

Cuba Branch Territory

The branch has reported that the publishers affected by Hurricane Irma are receiving much needed assistance. This includes shepherding visits by representatives of the branch office.

Dominican Republic Branch Territory

Three DRCs coordinated the relief work to care for 57 affected publishers. Local brothers and sisters donated food, water, clothing, and other necessities. By the end of October, all of the damaged homes were cleaned up and repaired, primarily by local volunteers.

France Branch Territories—Guadeloupe and St. Martin

The branch established a DRC on the island of St. Martin, as well as a regional relief center on the island of Guadeloupe, to coordinate the relief construction work, which is estimated to cost nearly $1.4 million. The work includes repairing 12 Kingdom Halls on Guadeloupe and 2 Kingdom Halls and 24 homes of our brothers in St. Martin. A total of 22 construction volunteers from France, Guadeloupe, and Martinique will assist with the relief work.

The damaged property of a publisher on St. Martin after Hurricane Maria.

United States Branch Territories—British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands

Over 13,000 publishers were affected in the branch territory. Currently, four DRCs are assisting our brothers and sisters and have already completed the first phase of the recovery work, which involved stabilizing over 95 percent of the damaged properties owned by our brothers and distributing humanitarian supplies, such as food and water. The initial recovery work is still ongoing in Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.

A crew cleans one of the homes of the more than 3,200 publishers in Puerto Rico affected by the hurricanes.

A total of 690 construction volunteers, 450 for the islands and 240 for Florida and Georgia, will assist with repairing Kingdom Halls and the homes of our brothers. The relief work is estimated to cost over $30 million and entails the following repair work:

  • British and U.S. Virgin Islands – 5 Kingdom Halls, 190 homes

  • Florida – 40 Kingdom Halls, 1,174 homes

  • Puerto Rico – 106 Kingdom Halls, 2 Assembly Halls, 1,216 homes

  • Turks and Caicos – 2 Kingdom Halls, 56 homes

Our prayer is that Jehovah will strengthen the hands of all those assisting with the recovery efforts. We are confident that the relief work, along with spiritual comfort, will help our brothers to recover and to continue in their united service to our great God, Jehovah.—Nehemiah 2:18.

Media Contacts:

International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000

Barbados: John Medford, +1-246-438-0655

Dominican Republic: Josué Féliz, +1-809-595-4007

France: Guy Canonici, +33-2-32-25-55-55