Providing Tropical Storm Relief in Dominica

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Matt Pelak

A career civil servant, Matt has spent over 15 years in the Army on active duty and in the National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq in 2004. Today, he is Team Rubicon's International Operations Chief, and has previously served as a contractor for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service with multiple deployments to Iraq as well as work in Africa. In the civilian sector, Matt worked as a paramedic for over 12 years and in Poughkeepsie, NY as a firefighter/paramedic.

Following Tropical Storm Erika, which devastated the Caribbean island nation of Dominica on August 29, we deployed personnel to install lifesaving water purification systems and deliver critically needed medical supplies.

A small island southeast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Dominica experienced catastrophic flooding and mudslides leaving more than 30 dead, thousands homeless and widespread devastation. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit declared the storm had set his country back 20 years and appealed to the international community for immediate aid.

In order to provide effective and efficient humanitarian relief where it is needed most, we’re collaborating with our network of partners including DEKA, FedEx, All Hands Volunteers, and Global Links to deliver lifesaving health services to Dominica. As a large portion of the population lives in hard to access areas due to the geography of the island, Team Rubicon’s ability to deliver humanitarian aid in austere environments will be instrumental in restoring health to vulnerable communities.

Ed Uhring (center) of DEKA collects a water sample on the island of Dominica in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika.
Ed Uhring (center) of DEKA collects a water sample on the island of Dominica in the wake of Tropical Storm Erika.

Through a donated expedited shipment from FedEx, our volunteers will install DEKA’s Slingshot water purification systems to communities at risk of disease from contaminated water. Using a process called vapor compression distillation, a single Slingshot can purify more than 250,000 liters of water per year, enough to satisfy the needs of approximately 300 people. TR members will also deliver personal protective equipment and medical supplies provided by Global Links to support local hospitals and health workers in responding to the storm.