Due to climate change, we’ve seen an increase in extreme weather in recent years. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was no exception. Between June 1, 2020 and November 30, 2020 there was a record-breaking 30 named storms, 13 of which became hurricanes. Two of these hurricanes, Iota and Eta, passed directly through one of our communities in Guatemala, mere weeks apart.
At Fresh Del Monte, we believe A Better World Tomorrow relies on strong and resilient communities. So, when the well-being of the Motagua region in Guatema-la, the community in which our farms are located, was threatened by these two passing hurricanes, we immediately began working to organize relief efforts. Our team members on the ground in Guatemala worked quickly and were able to arrange evacuations, medical attention and emergency shelters for workers and their families. Thanks to their actions, not a single life was lost in our farms within the Motagua district.
The impacts of these hurricanes are tragic; many families lost their homes and all their belongings in the flooding that resulted from the storms. Our team members and suppliers stepped in to offer support; food, cleaning items and sleeping mats were delivered to community members in need. In total, we were able to donate nearly 4,000 sleeping mats and around 3,000 food bags and cleaning kits. Additionally, team members from across the globe made financial donations to those affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota. We are proud to say that we have raised more than $27,000 globally and Fresh Del Monte has committed to furthering these donations by matching all contributions made by team members. And, Fresh Del Monte North America donated an additional $10,000 to the relief efforts.
In addition to the destruction faced by the community, our banana farms also faced severe flooding, impacting our production and infrastructure. Our teams are working hard and, with Fresh Del Monte’s support, are in the process of repairing the area and infrastructure affected, thus allowing us to continue to offer good jobs to team members as the community recovers.
While we are, of course, saddened by the destruction caused by Hurricane Eta and Iota, we are so proud of the strength of our communities to persevere and the dedication of our team members to step up and offer help. A Better World Tomorrow is rooted in resilient communities and the well-being of our people. We will continue to stand by and work with our communities and our team members to overcome these challenges and to build a Better World Tomorrow.
“The storms that have passed have brought difficult times but we are ready and prepared to move forward. Our goal was to overcome this situation and survive. And we will do so. The goal is to continue moving forward,” stated Casimiro Dubois, who has been with Fresh Del Monte for more than forty year.