The Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew


Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 7 am

Volunteers are receiving a Whatsapp, sent by their zone leaders. “Good morning colleagues. Early this morning Red Cross received some calls of people who can use the help of the Red Cross. Yesterday we did a quick tour to see which areas were affected the most (by flood caused by the hurricane Matthew). Today we ask all volunteers to report at the Red Cross at 08.30 am, to perform an assessment in these areas.” 

A group of twenty people was able to report within 1,5 hours in uniform at the Red Cross. After a short briefing (and some volunteers realizing ‘this ain’t a training, this is for real) a big bus was waiting to cover the route: Bushiri, St. Cruz, PosChiquito and Amalia van Solmsstraat. According to the volunteers, coordinator (Stella) these areas were the most affected. The assessment of the day: ask the residents about their preparations for Matthew, if the flood troubled them and if they have any damage or personal injures to report. 

Only a few days earlier the Red Cross had organized an information night (Monday, September 26) to prepare the volunteers for the arrival of hurricane Matthew and a refresh Assessment Training (Tuesday September 27). Thursday and Friday Aruba was affected by ‘Matthew’. All volunteers were divided into zones (based on their address) and every zone had a zone leader who was in charge of ‘his’ or ‘her’ zone volunteers. A lot of volunteers were ‘Red Cross Ready’ to help, but it wasn’t necessary until Sunday morning October 2.

In the bus the task of the zone leaders – with a bright yellow vest – was to show their zone volunteers ‘in real time’ how to perform an assessment. Choosing the neighborhood, determine which houses to go to, a short introduction to the residents, asking questions, writing down the answers and scanning around the house for possible problems.  

During this assessment Red Cross Aruba had a visitor in the bus, a colleague from St. Maarten (Karina Wadhwani) who was in Aruba on vacation and was invited to join the assessment. It was her first time in Aruba and she enjoyed being part of this assessment team. 

It took the rest of the morning to finish the route. After returning to the headquarters of Red Cross, there was a short debriefing for the volunteers and the coordinator. 

Written for Red Cross by volunteer Mirte de Rozario