On April 9, the La Soufriere volcano erupted, causing the evacuation of thousands from surrounding villages in St. Vincent. We will provide immediate assistance to LGBTQ+ evacuees affected by the volcanic eruption and already battling with COVID-19 and discrimination in a region that criminalizes their conduct. Our relief assistance will include food packages, clean water, hygiene kits, sanitary products, clothing, heavy-duty face masks, relocation and housing support.
LGBTQ+ and PLHIV, already on the margins, face barriers in accessing shelter, food, medical and other assistance during emergencies. With many displaced after the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano, LGBTQ+ and PLHIV can fall through the cracks or feel forced to hide their status, sexuality and/or gender identity to access help or avoid discrimination.
Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) will co-ordinate with partners on the ground in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Dominica, and Saint Lucia to provide emergency assistance to LGBTQ+ persons who have been evacuated from their homes in St. Vincent. This will bolster efforts by eastern Caribbean governments already mobilised to shelter, feed and clothe thousands in need. This project will also provide relocation and housing support, care services, mobile credit for emergency communication and *safe spaces* for those most-at-risk.
The discrimination faced by PLHIV and LGBT+ people in a criminalised environment does not dissipate during an emergency, that the existing challenges are amplified/exacerbated. This is of utmost urgency especially this time with the COVID-19 pandemic still a problem and with the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season (June 1st – November 30th) fast approaching LGBTQ+ Vincentians still face a number of challenges. This fund will prevent many LGBTQ+ Vincentians from going back into the closet in order to access emergency assistance and will improve, safety and well-being. It will also strengthen the network of advocacy organisations and their connections to the community.