15 September 2004

Caribbean Storms

Tobias Buckell, a native of Grenada and a fine writer, has made a plea on his weblog:
In Grenada 90% of all the houses there are badly damaged, and no one is sure how many of those are habitable (estimates range). Winds were in excess of a steady 140 miles an hour, one of the largest storms to hit the larger Caribbean area. Grenada has a population of 90,000, and is a small country dependent on nutmeg, bananas, some small industry, and tourism, which was hit hard in the mid 80s (if you don't know why I don't have time explain). If you know much about world politics, if you're a small 3rd world country in the US's backyard, agricultural produce won't make you rich. And tourism suffered again in Grenada after 9/11.

I can't imagine what a immense blow this is to the island, an island where much of my roots lie, and I can't help but be somewhat affected as well. Having lost my home to a hurricane in the USVI once, I know this is a tough time many are going through. While those in Florida, and people in the USVI (as I was in '95) will receive the generous aid of federal disaster relief efforts, and in Florida choose evacuation, for the 90,000 people in Grenada, there was nowhere to go. The country is its own disaster relief fund, they have no larger network to look to, other than the world at large.

So here is a plea from a former member of those islands devastated by Ivan. If there is anything you find it in your hearts to give, Oxfam is taking donations to try and help rebuild and save people in the Caribbean.

For more Grenada specific relief efforts, if you live in Maryland or New York near the Grenada embassy look to this link provided by the embassy for more information on what you can do to help.

If anyone wishes to help, I am offering mailed signed reading manuscripts of any story in my bibliography for your generosity if that interests you at all.

I'm also going to auction off copies of all my spare anthologies here on my 'ego shelf' for Grenada charity. I'll be putting these up on ebay within the week and linking to them here from my weblog if anyone is interested in that as well. Everything helps, and I want to get the word out.

Please, if you are a friend, or an acquaintance of mine, link to, or copy, or spread this around.

My thanks.
Tobias's link is to Oxfam Canada. Oxfam UK is also trying to help. News and updates are available at the Caribbean Hurricane Network, which includes many links for donations and support.

If you want to donate to Tobias and get one of his books, I highly recommend Mojo: Conjure Stories, if he's got any left (that's the anthology with Tobias's "Death's Dreadlocks", which some of my students liked quite a bit, and Neil Gaiman's "Bitter Grounds", the story that should have been Neil's big award-winner this year).

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