If you don't see a story in this issue assessing hurricane damage in your favorite winter destination, that means your little piece of tropical heaven is basically fine, with two exceptions: Haiti and Grenada. Here's what's happening on the two islands hit worse than any others, and ways you can help:
* Although 90 percent of Grenada was devastated by Hurricane Ivan, the island has been working hard to make a comeback. Given the devastation and the spirited attempt to get ready for tourists, going there might be considered a righteous act.
The first post-hurricane cruise passengers arrived Nov. 9 and were greeted with steel bands, colorful buntings and balloons. Local students were stationed at the dock to shake passengers' hands and thank them for visiting.
To date, hotels and resorts have readied 400 rooms. The Grenada Board of Tourism offers a list at www.grenadagrenadines.com, or call 561-588-8176. All roads are open, as is the airport.
Donations are welcome and will be distributed with priority given to those left homeless by Ivan, the elderly and families with malnourished children. Details: 202-265-2561, www.grenadaemergency.com.
* Haiti is not ready for visitors. The island was dealt two crushing blows by Jeanne and Ivan and is in the midst of massive political upheaval. The U.S. State Department warns that the island currently lacks an effective police force. Criminal and gang activity, already problematic, has escalated. Gonaives remains a disaster area, with little public services of any kind.
The relief organization CARE is directing disaster recovery efforts there, among other troubled nations. To donate, call 800-521-CARE. For information about the organization, go to www.careusa.org, but you cannot designate donations specifically for an individual nation online.
-- Cindy Loose