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Before Hurricane Irma hit, 81-year-old Simon had lived in Wesley in northeast Dominica for more than 60 years. He built his home himself and lives alone, as his four children are grown-up and have moved overseas.
When Hurricane Irma hit Wesley in September 2017, Simon’s peaceful life was uprooted.
The hurricane was the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and Simon, along with two million other people, was exposed to winds in excess of 185mph.
But the devastation didn’t stop there. Hurricane Maria hit as a category 5 storm with winds of 282kmph just days later.
Forced out of his home, Simon sought shelter in one of his local churches. But the extreme winds broke the door open and water started pouring in.
As he searched for dry ground, Simon was hit in the head by a piece of wood. Finally, he managed to find a shelter where he could rest for a few days before cleaning up what was left of his house.
Our teams worked tirelessly to help communities begin recovering in the Caribbean. On the island of Dominica, we provided ShelterKits to help families make repairs to their homes.
Training sessions were carried out with members of the local community to show people the different ways the kit can be used, and how to make stronger, more resilient structures.
When our teams conducted a training session in the community of Wesley in northeast Dominica, they met Simon for the first time. After talking people through the theoretical part of the training, the team then did a practical demonstration by rebuilding the roof of Simon’s house.
He was very grateful and surprised by the ShelterKit and the help that the community provided to cover the roof above his bedroom. He will now try to fix his bed and is planning to paint his bedroom red to make it look nicer.
At ShelterBox, we know that shelter is not just a roof, canvas or tarpaulin over your head, it’s the process of recovery, of returning to normal when disaster strikes.
That’s why we don’t just provide items that give shelter, but items and training that help people make better shelters.
Right now there are many more people like Simon who have lost everything. You can give them comfort and security in their darkest hour.