EXUMA, BAHAMAS 15TH JULY 2017 – International Rescue Group (IRG) announces a change in direction for disaster relief operations by boat – IRG Reserve

When Hurricane Matthew slammed into southern Haiti last year, the storm took almost 1,000 lives, caused considerable damage to dwellings and wiped out a large percentage of the country’s crops. Delivering disaster aid to these areas from the main operations centers of NGOs working in Haiti was almost impossible. Roads were washed out, local authorities hindered shipments, and most of the NGOs were focused on the main urban centers, leaving the southern communities to fend for themselves.

Fulfilling its mission to provide support and disaster response to coastal and island communities by sea, International Rescue Group (IRG) has operated eight disaster relief missions into Haiti using boats owned directly by IRG, and working with boat owner/members in the IRG Reserve.

Captain Ray Thackeray, Founder and Executive Director of IRG, said: “Until now, IRG has been building a small fleet of donated boats and unpaid volunteer captains who sign on for a multi-year mission. However, managing a dedicated fleet has proven to be a considerable management distraction and expense because of logistics, lack of scalability, and the demand has outpaced the growth of the IRG fleet. After careful analysis and consideration, the organization has changed direction and is now recruiting boats exclusively into the IRG Reserve.”

“Soon after meeting other IRG boats in the Bahamas,” said Alison and Andre Stroebel of catamaran Rat Catcher, “We joined the IRG Reserve and changed our route south to be able to load and deliver relief goods to Ile a Vache, Haiti. Meeting the people and seeing the work IRG is doing there to restore facilities still not fully functional since their last disaster made one feel proud and humbled to be a small part.”

The IRG Reserve is a fleet of loosely affiliated yachts and their crews, who volunteer for humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions. In the last 6 months, there has been a significant increase in the number of boats signing up and responding to calls for help. IRG can connect private yachts in the IRG Reserve with donated medical supplies from hospitals, other NGOs supporting disaster relief, and various other resources. IRG Reserve boats with powerful water-makers play a vital role in bringing clean water to communities cut off from an island’s road network.

Danielle Breteau and John Oliver from S/V JODA reported: “We transported boxes of tools and equipment as well as sails from George Town, Bahamas to the island of Ile a Vache, Haiti in April 2017.”

Yachts that join the IRG Reserve are given the tools to raise funds through IRG’s proven network and infrastructure (with tax relief benefits to donors from the USA). The IRG Reserve are cruisers all around the world who believe in IRG’s mission and would like to contribute to humanitarian aid and do their part in times of emergency. Using our global text messaging and email network, when IRG responds to disasters, we alert the whole network and IRG Reserve Boats in the area. http://members.internationalrescuegroup.org/group/irg-reserve

CONTACT: Captain Ray Thackeray, Executive Director, IRG ray.thackeray@internationalrescuegroup.org

International Rescue Group Support and disaster response to coastal and island communities - by sea. http://www.internationalrescuegroup.org, a 501(c)(3) California nonprofit corporation.

Please donate to continue help to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew: http://www.gofundme.com/StormMatthew

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