Relief efforts mobilised across Caribbean islands and parts of Florida battered by Hurricane Irma will get a $10 million boost from cruise giant Carnival Corporation

An immediate donation of $2.5 million is being made by the family foundation of Carnival chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine to Direct Relief, Unicef and the United Way of Miami-Dade County to support urgent relief needs in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

This follows the foundation providing a minimum of $2 million for Hurricane Harvey recovery across the US Gulf Coast region.

Carnival Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation – and the charitable fund of the Miami Heat basketball team owned by Arison are each pledging to raise a combined $5 million in funding for relief and recovery efforts.

Arison and his wife will match that commitment up to a total of $5 million from their family foundation, including the organisation’s initial donation aimed at supporting the most immediate needs in Florida and the Caribbean.

Eleven Carnival Cruise Line ships are being deployed to provide affected ports in the region with supplies and the most immediate necessities, including food, water, clothing, diapers, medical supplies and generators.

Scheduled as part of ongoing cruise itineraries, the humanitarian aid efforts will benefit destinations across the region, including Grand Turk, St Maarten, St Thomas, Antigua-Barbuda and affected Bahamian islands.

The company also initiated plans to start 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 Corporation’s cruise brands are contributing additional global fundraising efforts including Carnival Cruise Line.

UK-based P&O Cruises is setting up a campaign to support hurricane relief through donations directly to Unicef.

Princess Cruises’ Princess Foundation has pledged to match donations made through its donation page, which will be available soon through the brand’s website.

Carnival Corporation chief executive, Arnold Donald, said: “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.

“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. It is inspiring to see so many individuals and organisations 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 added: “We also want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Micky and Madeleine Arison for their generosity, and also express our gratitude to the Miami Heat organisation for partnering with us to support recovery efforts.”

Miami Heat president Pat Riley said: “Hurricane Irma has devastated many families and cities that mean so much to us.

“As a long-time resident of South Florida, I have witnessed the resiliency of our communities, watching neighbours come together to overcome adversity. The South Florida community has supported our organisation throughout the years, so it is only fitting that we are there to support and help uplift this community in its time of need.”