Solidarity: The Fondation de France has raised 10 million euros for the victims of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy

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Ten million euros in donations were collected by the Fondation de France to help the inhabitants of the islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, devastated by the passage of Hurricane Irma, the philanthropic network announced.

“Many French people responded to the Fondation de France's call for national solidarity: 10 million euros were collected. Whether it is individuals, companies or local authorities, the solidarity chain is mobilized ”, welcomed the foundation in a press release.

"This is a significant sum in terms of the generosity that has been deployed but which, compared to the scale of the needs, will not allow everyone to be helped. So we are targeting the most vulnerable, ”said Martin Spitz of the Fondation de France, during a press conference. The donations will be redistributed mainly to local associations in Saint-Martin and ad hoc aid may also be provided in Saint-Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, Dominica and Cuba, said the foundation.

"Saint Martin is our priority, because it is the island that was most affected by Hurricane Irma, and also because it has a very young population with an unemployment rate of almost 30% and a extremely low average income level. It is an already fragile population which is today devastated, "explained the director general of the foundation, Axelle Davezac. On September 19, the concert "Ensemble pour les Antilles" at the Casino de Paris, broadcast on television, allowed the foundation to raise more than two million euros.

According to the government, between 7.000 and 8.000 people left Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy after Hurricane Irma hit more than a month ago. To help victims in Saint-Martin and in mainland France, the Fondation de France will pay 426.300 euros from donations to the France Victimes federation, which brings together 130 associations.

A project manager present for 3 months on the island

To help with reconstruction on the island, the foundation has also committed up to 20.000 euros alongside the Architecture and Development association. And "for the revival of small businesses thanks to emergency aid or a zero-rate loan according to their situation and their needs", it also granted € 300.000 to Initiative Saint-Martin Active.

The volunteer firefighters of the Secours Catastrophe Français group (GSCF), present in Saint-Martin for water treatment, habitat protection and road clearing, will receive 25.000 euros. And 37.800 euros were allocated to Télécoms sans frontières "to quickly set up internet and telephone connections for aid workers and for the populations in Saint-Martin and in Dominica".

Present on site, in particular with mobile teams responsible for meeting disaster victims, the Fondation de France sent a project manager for a period of three months, "in order to co-construct with local actors concrete projects for meet the needs of the inhabitants ”. "To help well, you have to be there and take the time to understand local specific needs and not be mistaken in the help we provide," added Axelle Davezac. A report on the use of donations will be regularly published on the Fondation de France website. _AF

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