United Nations Foundation Issues Urgent Appeal for Funds to Support Hurricane Dean Recovery Effort in Mexico
Friends of World Heritage Fund to support communities devastated by storm; Riveria Maya resort in Paraiso de la Bonita kicks off appeal with $11,000 donation
Washington, DC — September 7, 2007
The United Nations Foundation (UN Foundation) today launched an emergency fundraising appeal for $100,000 to support the recovery effort for communities in and around the Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The reserve’s infrastructure and delicate ecosystem were severely damaged by Hurricane Dean, a category 5 storm that devastated the area in August 2007. Paraiso de la Bonita, a Rivera Maya resort and member of the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism, announced a $11,000 donation to the appeal to help reestablish businesses in dozens of communities in the area that earn their livelihoods through the sustainable cultivation of their natural environment.
“The predominantly indigenous communities in the area were the hardest hit by Hurricane Dean. It destroyed their crops, their fisheries, their factories – everything they need to support their communities,” said Erika Harms, Executive Director of Sustainable Development at the UN Foundation. “We are working with them to quickly rebuild their businesses before the start of the busiest tourist season in the region.”
Contributions from individuals will also be matched by both Expedia, Inc. and the UN Foundation, up to a total contribution of $50,000 from each organization, making every dollar donated three times as effective. Donations can be made at https://www.unfoundation.org/donate/fowh2/donate.asp. During the Hurricane Dean appeal, 100% of funds raised through the Friends of World Heritage fund will go directly to these affected communities.
Since 1999, the founding partners of Friends of World Heritage – UNESCO, the UN Foundation, and Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE) – together with other partners, have supported sustainable development projects in and around this natural World Heritage site, where families of 5 live on as little as $700 per year. The project has enabled local communities – overwhelmingly Mayan indigenous peoples – to sell environmentally-friendly tours and sustainable, locally-produced food and other products to travelers, hotels and others in the region. These products provide lifesaving income for local communities, and preserve their delicate natural environment.
Among the projects the Hurricane Dean appeal will support are: