An image of the devastation after Saint Maarten hurricane

I told you a few weeks ago about the Co-operatives UK appeal we were supporting, to re-build co-operatives in flood and hurricane hit areas.

The global appeal fund, which we kicked off with a donation of £50,000 has now reached £117,395 thanks to co-operatives around the world.

After such tragic events, the response has been heartwarming. Even some of the smallest co-operatives in the country have contributed, like CASE, a co-operative development agency in Leicester.

Another moving example is from the Philippines National Confederation of Co-operatives. In 2013, the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan and the international co-operative movement gave financial support. Now, as Sylvia Paraguya, CEO of the Confederation tells us:

“We received support during the Haiyan time, and we cannot forget that.  In our own little way, we would also like to express our solidarity.”

Helping rebuild Nepal and Puerto Rico

The team at Co-operatives UK has been liaising with the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) who are identifying where the money is needed. The focus of the appeal has been on medium-term reconstruction, so that when the emergency relief agencies leave, local co-operatives are ready to respond to people’s needs on the ground.

One of the areas first affected by storms was Nepal. After flooding and a landslide, the death toll reached 123, with at least 35 people missing. A further 75,000 families were affected; losing homes, farms and livestock. Money from the fund will help Nepal, and the ICA Regional Director has been working with co-operative networks there to plan reconstruction.

Since the appeal was launched, we’ve also seen a devastating earthquake in Mexico and a further hurricane in the Caribbean. This has caused widespread destruction in countries like Puerto Rico, so it’s been agreed in principle that money can be sent to this area if needed.

Today we also announced how we’re donating a separate £50,000 to Fairtrade farmers in the Dominican Republic, who have been badly affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Take a look at Brad Hill’s blog post on this.

We’re thankful to all the co-operatives who have generously donated so far, and here’s hoping there’s more to come.

Rufus Olins
Group Community & Campaigns Director