As you may have seen in the news, a powerful cyclone has hit the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu leaving families in desperate life-threatening situations. With winds of up to 260kph, Cyclone Pam tore across one of the poorest nations on Earth leaving thousands of families homeless, hungry and terrified that another storm could hit this Wednesday. Vanuatu's President has said that more than 90% of buildings have been destroyed in the capital. Imagine that.
We're appealing for your help to raise funds for our emergency relief partner CARE International, which we'll match dollar for dollar. The poker community rallied so strongly when we appealed in 2013 in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. We hope that you can find it in your heart to donate again. Your contribution really will make a difference to people pushed close to the edge. You can donate via the CARE page or by using FPPs in our VIP store.
'The destruction in the capital is enormous. I can't even imagine how it must look like on the outer islands," said Charlie Damon, Programme Manager for CARE International in Vanuatu.
Destroyed homes, blocked roads, fallen power lines and destroyed communications lines are making recovery conditions extremely challenging. Even the local offices of CARE have been destroyed. There is no electricity in many areas and health support is at risk itself: the central hospital has been badly damaged and has been left with no power. Most people are staying at evacuation centres, but sanitation facilities are stretched to breaking point already. Toilets and soap are urgently needed to prevent the outbreak of deadly diseases like cholera. Many remote communities are still isolated and cut off from communications. We are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of people living there.
CARE has teams on the ground doing everything they can, but they urgently need your support to reach the most vulnerable families.
$20 could give families devastated by the Vanuatu Cyclone life-saving emergency supplies, including water purification and hygiene kits.
How you can help now
You can donate one of two ways: by FPPs through the PokerStars VIP Store or by donating cash direct.
1) You can support in the VIP Store cashier. (Currently available for UK players only.)
2) Or you can make a cash donation here
CARE has been working in Vanuatu since 2008 and is distributing hygiene kits tailored to women and men's needs in evacuation centres of Port Vila. CARE is the only aid organisation operating in the island province of Tafea, where people are likely to be in desperate need of help including water, sanitation, shelter and food. Although the CARE office has been destroyed in the cyclone, this has not deterred the team.
"We don't need an office to do our job," said Issac, CARE Resilience Coordinator. To read more about CARE's emergency response please click here.
We feel very proud of the poker community's ability to come together to help those most at need and hope that you'll join us to do what we can from our side. As a company, we'll also be matching every dollar donated by our own staff.
Thank you for your time and, I hope, your donation.
Sue Hammett is Head of Corporate Giving for Rational Group. Click through to find out more about our corporate giving programme Helping Hands.