Crane employees help restore electricity to hurricane victims

By Jeff Landenberger DLA Disposition Services

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More than 90 days have passed since Hurricane Irma lashed the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean Sea with winds in excess of 180 mph.

Hurricane Maria quickly followed that storm.

Afterward, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda described the islands as "barely habitable." Most people still do not have power, but the Defense Logistics Agency employees at DLA Disposition Services at Crane helped light the way when they recently shipped 14 generators to the impacted area.

The non-profit organization Outreach Aid to the Americas, Inc., is authorized to acquire excess property from DLA. The organization says it has 23 years of humanitarian response and development experience in the Americas.

Cedrick Hancock, a disposal service representative based in Indiana, said he took the call from OAA and was excited to know Crane would play a part in the recovery efforts.

Brian Wesley Kirton is the director of OAA’s Caribbean Community Outreach. “The deployment of the generators in both Dominica and on Barbuda is being undertaken not only as a relief effort,” he said, “but also as part of resiliency planning to ensure that certain key institutions have back-up power, in the event the national grid, where it can currently supply electricity, fails.”

He said that in Dominica the generators went to the fire station at the country’s lone international airport, to Red Cross headquarters, to the Princess Margaret Hospital and to the Dominica Office of Disaster Management.

A generator was also placed at a home for abused and homeless children, and another went to a care home for the elderly. Both locations have been without power since Maria hit Dominica in mid-September.

According to Kirton, 95 percent of the housing on Barbuda was damaged by the storms. The entire population evacuated to Antigua.

“However, Barbadians are now returning to the island, where the Red Cross is providing tents for them to be accommodated as they begin to rebuild their homes,” Kirton said. “Generators will be deployed to a camp that has been set up by the Red Cross on Barbuda. The mobile units will be deployed to various communities on the island to provide power for rebuilding activities as well as pumping potable water to residents.”