The World Council of Credit Unions has activated a Caribbean Relief Fund to assist Caribbean-area credit unions and their members impacted by Hurricane Irma.

WOCCU noted that Irma was “one of the strongest storms ever to hit the Caribbean” which “brought devastation, loss of life and damage of epic proportions,” particularly to Anguilla, Barbuda and Tortola. The Bahamas and St. Kitts and Nevis, the group added, were also impacted but to a “lesser degree.”

Credit unions and their members have suffered “significant loss,” WOCCU added, citing that there are more than 100,000 credit union members in Anguilla, Barbuda, Tortola and St. Kitts and Nevis. WOCCU member Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions estimated unofficially that approximately US$1.9 billion may be required for reconstruction in these countries.

The hurricane killed at least 44 people in the Caribbean.

WOCCU said it will provide “immediate relief” to support rebuilding efforts.

“It is through these difficult times that our global community comes together to show its strength and reach beyond borders to help those in need,” WOCCU President and CEO Brian Branch said in a statement. He further urged credit union leaders to offer their financial support in providing relief to those impacted by Hurricane Irma.