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Telethon to help hurricanie-hit islands

Horrific damage: a mechanical shovel removes debris from a street after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Havana, Cuba (Photograph by AP)

A telethon to support hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean will tonight hit the airwaves in a bid to raise at least $100,000.

The island’s West Indian Association organised the event after the region was devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria last month.

Damian Brewster, president of the WIA, said: “The islands devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria still require massive support as they begin the long process of rebuilding communities and infrastructure.

“The WIA remains committed to supporting their recovery and we are very grateful for the generosity and support we have received at every level locally.”

The Give from the Heart telethon will be broadcast live from the Berkeley Institute in Pembroke on ZFB TV and radio station Power 95FM, as well as being streamed on Facebook Live.

A dozen volunteers will man phone lines during the fundraiser to take pledges, with a target of $100,000.

Mr Brewster said: “We are confident that we will reach our target and also extend our thanks to those who have already donated, and encourage others to donate during the telethon.”

Bermuda Broadcasting has donated its airtime for free and its staff will work on an unpaid volunteer basis.

Patrick Singleton, Bermuda Broadcasting’s CEO, said: “Here in Bermuda we know all too well how damaging and unsettling hurricanes can be.

“We have been fortunate so far this hurricane season, but obviously the Caribbean was not spared, and the destruction is widespread.

“We know that if Bermuda was in dire need, our neighbours to the south would come to our aid, so we’re happy to do our bit.

“My grandfather came to Bermuda from the West Indies so I personally share the strong affinity that many fellow Bermudians have with the region.”

Guest performers at the telethon include Joy Barnum, the In Motion School of Dance and poet Andrea Peets, as well as steel pan band dancers from the Portuguese Association, and comedy from Mike Jones.

The event is one of several organised by the WIA to help the thousands of people affected by the massive storms.

Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest hurricanes on record, hit several territories, and some took a second pounding from Hurricane Maria just a week later.

The WIA will also host a family fun day on Sunday, November 5 and their annual Christmas Round De Caribbean fundraiser on December 9.

The telethon will run from 6pm to 10.30pm, with a half-hour break between 7pm and 7.30pm.