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Carnival, Miami Heat, Arisons dig deep with $10m pledge for Irma relief

Carnival Corp. & plc, the Miami Heat Charitable Fund and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10m in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma.

As part of this, 11 Carnival Cruise Line ships will carry supplies to areas of Florida, Caribbean island nations and parts of the Bahamas that were impacted.

The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation will make an immediate donation of $2.5m to Direct Relief, UNICEF and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support the most timely and urgent relief needs.

Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corp., and the Miami Heat Charitable Fund are each pledging to raise a combined $5m for relief and recovery efforts. Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine will match that commitment up to a total of $5m from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, including the organization's initial donation aimed at supporting the most immediate needs in Florida and the Caribbean.

'We are committed to supporting relief efforts where Hurricane Irma left an impact in Florida and the Caribbean, starting with immediate humanitarian needs and recovery efforts that will have a meaningful impact,' Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said. 'Hurricane Irma's impact strikes close to home both in our home state of Florida and across the Caribbean, where we and our brands have made many friends and partners over many years. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all of those who have been impacted.'

Donald added: 'It is inspiring to see so many individuals and organizations already pitching in to support the relief work, and we will continue to look for ways to provide support. Our friends and partners from across Florida and the Caribbean have always displayed remarkable resilience, strength and spirit when facing difficult circumstances. They have come back strong in the past, and we will be standing with them as they work to come back strong once again.'

Donald also expressed gratitude to Micky and Madeleine Arison for their generosity, and thanked the Miami Heat organization for partnering with Carnival Corp. to support recovery efforts.'

'Hurricane Irma has devastated many families and cities that mean so much to us,' said Pat Riley, president of the Miami Heat. He added that as a long-time South Florida resident, he has have witnessed the resilience of the communities and watched neighbors come together to overcome adversity. 'The South Florida community has supported our organization throughout the years, so it is only fitting that we are there to support and help uplift this community in its time of need,' Riley said.

As part of the relief efforts, Carnival Cruise Line will deliver critical supplies to the most deeply affected areas of Florida and the island nations in the Caribbean that were impacted. The brand is deploying 11 ships to provide affected ports in the region with crucial supplies and the most immediate necessities, including food, water, clothing, diapers, medical supplies and generators, among others.

Scheduled as part of ongoing cruise itineraries, the humanitarian aid efforts will benefit destinations including Grand Turk, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua-Barbuda and affected Bahamian islands. Carnival Corp. remains in touch with leaders throughout the Caribbean to be able to support each country's quickly evolving recovery needs. The company also initiated a multifaceted plan to begin providing relief to areas of the US mainland, including Florida and the Florida Keys, which will begin as soon as all impacted areas are accessible.

Carnival Corp. brands are contributing additional global fundraising efforts. Carnival Cruise Line set up a relief program enabling passengers to donate directly to Hurricane Irma recovery efforts through its donation page available at Carnival Hurricane Relief. Princess Cruises' Princess Foundation has also pledged to match donations made through its donation page, which will be available soon through the brand's website. Additionally, P&O Cruises UK is setting up a campaign to support hurricane relief through donations directly to UNICEF.

Carnival Corp. and its full portfolio of brands are also encouraging employees to support the recovery efforts in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean, while also matching some individual donations.

The Hurricane Irma support and relief efforts follow the recent announcement that Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corp. and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation provided a minimum of $2m for Hurricane Harvey recovery across the Gulf Coast region, including some of the hardest hit areas of Texas. Support following Hurricane Harvey has been committed to Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Operation Homefront, Save the Children and the United Way of Greater Houston.

Posted 14 September 2017

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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