WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and Gregory Meeks (NY-05) wrote to New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo requesting assistance in securing aircraft to airlift disaster relief supplies procured from private citizens from New York City to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
On April 9, the La Soufrière volcano erupted, causing an evacuation of upwards of 20,000 people from the island of Saint Vincent. Since then, falling ash has created water shortages, caused roofs to collapse, and has disrupted electricity and food supplies. Thousands of people remain in emergency shelters on the island.
Caribbean leaders in Brooklyn and Queens, which is home to likely the largest Vincentian diaspora community in the U.S., have collected relief supplies. For example, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Disaster Relief Committee has collected enough bottled water to fill two 20-feet shipping containers, 90 commercial shipping bins, 120 barrels, and two 20-feet containers of essential relief items.
“Shipping these materials by sea would take roughly three weeks or longer. Alternatively, sending an aircraft with supplies would deliver relief much sooner during this rapidly unfolding crisis,” wrote the Members. “We therefore respectfully request your assistance in securing an available aircraft to airlift disaster relief supplies procured from private citizens from New York City to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.”