AUSTIN, Texas — Rugby Americas North and Rugby Relief announced today a partnership to aid in the immediate and long-term recovery efforts for those affected by recent storms and natural disasters. The collaboration will serve to bring together the resources of both organizations to most effectively help the regions of the Caribbean, Southeastern United States and Mexico after recent natural disasters.
In the wake of devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and an earthquake in Mexico, millions of people have been displaced, lost homes or needed aid. In the RAN region the British Virgin Islands have been rendered nearly completely uninhabitable in parts, with the vast majority of structures demolished or without roofs. Anguilla has lost access to 90 percent of their roads. Barbuda, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos will take years to rebuild. Texas and Florida are recovering from severe flooding, and Mexico is working to rebuild after an 8.1 earthquake hit the southern region.
With the needs of the region so great, RAN and Rugby Relief have committed to mobilizing local rugby communities to contribute to the rebuilding efforts.
“With a home, office and many friends in the BVI, I know how much the support of the rugby community will help in the coming months and years ahead,” said RAN General Manager Niall Brooks. “This will be a long journey for many, especially our Caribbean members, so we are thankful to be working with Rugby Relief who have demonstrated how impactful our rugby communities can be after disasters strike.”
Rugby Relief has been in operation since September 2016. After natural disasters strike, Rugby Relief works to mobilize the rugby community to help those affected. They believe the strength, endurance, heart, and culture of the rugby community have great potential to help those in their time of greatest need.
Since forming, members of more than 25 different rugby clubs have become involved with the organization through volunteering, donating, and fundraising. Rugby Relief helped in the demolition and cleanup efforts of more than 45 homes during the 2016 Louisiana Flood and tornadoes in Hattiesburg, MS and New Orleans, LA. Most recently, they’ve helped with over 50 homes during their Hurricane Harvey relief efforts and are slated for more. Since 2016, Rugby Relief has raised approximately $21,500 to fund tools, safety equipment, and other supplies needed for their operations.
“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with RAN and expand our ability to help more people who have been affected by the recent disasters,” said Rugby Relief President Justin Pidgeon. “We believe that the rugby community has something to offer in these times of need, and we look forward to being able to put our strength and skills to work wherever they are needed.”
With both short-term and long-term relief efforts needed, Rugby Relief has issued a sign-up for information on how people can help in the recovery. The sign-up form can be found at www.rugbyrelief.org/irma . Information on the best places to donate, as well as opportunities to lend time and expertise to the rebuilding phase will be released as needs in the region arise. Donations to www.bvirelief.com are being requested immediately for aid in the British Virgin Islands.
For those interested in helping in Texas, please visit www.rugbyrelief.org/harvey. For updates on relief efforts please follow the Rugby Relief Facebook page. For questions, please email RugbyRelief@gmail.com.
About Rugby Relief
In the aftermath of the devastating floods in Louisiana in August 2016, Rugby Relief was founded in order to facilitate volunteerism in the rugby community. RR’s primary goal is to coordinate a network of strong, hardworking people to aid in the response, relief, and recovery for communities who have suffered from disasters. Through volunteerism they also hope to strengthen the already vibrant national and international rugby community, while spreading awareness of the sport and its values of inclusiveness, teamwork, and comradery.