Posts Tagged ‘StormCarib’

Hurricane Irma – Relief

September 8, 2017


Barbuda Pink Shells

My love affair with the Caribbean began in 1987 on my first trip to Antigua. I was captivated by the people, the music, the smells, the sounds. After a week’s stay, I returned to a cold and dreary landscape in the US. I always knew I would return, and I did, to later move to Antigua. There, I met a man, fell in love and had a child.   My experiences included visiting many of the islands in the chain, including my favorite Barbuda. I loved the people and was astounded by a 17-mile pink beach.  I have life long memories of my time in the Eastern Caribbean. Later in life, I shifted gears, became a windsurfer and eventually found Bonaire.  Bonaire is outside the hurricane belt, above the coast of Venezuela. Most people know Bonaire’s neighbors, Aruba and Curacao.  The climate and culture is vastly different from my former home. There is a strong Latin influence and a dry climate. Bonaire has it’s own beauty.

For the past thirty years, I have followed every storm that has passed through the islands. I have lived through some of the storms. Some that come to mind include Hugo, Gilbert, Luis, Marilyn, Floyd  and more recently, Omar. Each wreaked havoc on the islands. Still, I have never seen anything with the magnitude of Irma.  Irma has left a path of devastation through so many islands. Please know, my source of information is from social media, dialogues with friends and news sources and not first hand.

The devastation on Barbuda is massive. Nearby Antigua, got off easy. As they say in Antiguan dialect, “Barbuda took licks”. The damage is so bad, I am told, many if not all are being relocated off island.

Up the chain, Sint Maarten and St. Marten, the dual nation community suffered severe damage to homes, hotels, businesses and industry.  Visual images reveal devastation.  A friend posted a video during the hurricane revealing her roof gone and the storm washing into her living room.

Reports from friends are much the same on Anguilla. I am told most roofs are gone. Images of the much loved Pumphouse reveal it is completely flattened. Rebuilding on Anguilla will take months. The entire infrastructure is impacted.

I could go on and on about each island. What I really want to say impress in this post is, the expansive impact on so many islands is like nothing I have ever seen. The Caribbean community is going to need help in so many ways. Some of the islands have the support of their mother lands. Such will be the case for the USVI’s and BVI’s. Other independent nations will have little support.   There are many sources of information where to donate. Storm Carib has been a resource for me for many years. Some folks are posting crowd funding sites there.

One site I do recommend, is a group spearheading an effort to save the animals that will soon be abandoned on Barbuda.  I am not personally connected to any so do your homework. Here are three sites to consider.

Lastly, I strongly recommend you continue to visit the islands that were not impacted by the storms. Tourism is the main economy in the islands. Keep the Caribbean vibe alive. The islands hit will rebuild. Caribbean people are resilient. If you find a worthy relief effort to share, do let me know.