Yes, Houston is important as is Florida after the hurricanes. But, let’s not forget our neighbors who live on islands in the Caribbean. You are not being asked to be a hero, just to be a neighbor. Clean water, food and housing shortages are critical, particularly in the more remote areas. Continued threats from flooding, mudslides and debris remain. Communication links on most islands are seriously damaged along with little or no electrical support. Puerto Rico is but one example. If you know someone on the islands, send them some support via a local relief agency that you trust. Things like water purifiers, bulk foods and other essentials are needed. That said, imagine how you would feel if you were a cancer patient living on the island? Let’s reach out to them. Frankly, the US should be sending an armada of ships and planes along with a company or two of US Navy SeaBees to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands while also helping with other neighbors. We are in this together. Write to your Congressional Representatives and Senators. Get involved. This is our moment to shine.
Here is a quick run-down of just a few of the islands.
More than 15 people have died and many are missing on Dominica. This was the first island hit by Maria. With near total destruction of housing and public buildings coupled with severe flooding, they need help. Indeed, over 95% of the roofs have been blown-off. Even the hospital lost its roof. Imagine if you are a patient? They are also neighbors of the US.
As of last Thursday afternoon, the electricity service was completely out, the water system was shut off to 70% of customers, and the telecommunications infrastructure is barely functioning. Photographs and the news reports show devastation. This is part of the United States yet the response compared to the need is wanting. To check on residents of Puerto Rico, you can reach Puerto Rico’s Federal Affairs Administration at 1-202-778-0710 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Turks and Caicos
Recocvering from Irma, the Turks and Caicos were hit again. Loose debris from Irma, which posed a huge risk after the 1st hurricane is augmented with the second. The damage is so great relief agencies are finding it extremely difficult to access areas most affected by the storm, including South Caicos, where some areas are almost totally destroyed. Local supermarkets are running low but are still trying to provide free meals to residents. Local volunteers are assisting in clean-up efforts but are struggling. They are also neighbors of the US.
The British and the US Virgin Islands, still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Irma when Maria passed through. The White House has declared the US Virgin Islands a disaster zone and ordered assistance be sent there. Is the assistance enough?
As of Wednesday afternoon, electricity was out across the island and only essential vehicles were allowed on the roads, many of which were blocked by downed trees and power lines. They are also neighbors of the US. Updates are being posted on the government’s official media Facebook page
Neighbors of the US, at least two people died and two were missing on the French island. “Almost all the banana plantations on the island have been affected,” prime minister Philippe said. “Production has totally stopped.”
St Kitts & Nevis
The eye of Hurricane Maria passed to the south of the islands last Monday and heavy winds damaged homes and businesses. Citizens had a national cleanup day on Wednesday to work through the debris. The airport is open. “We are deeply appreciative that again we have been spared the third hurricane in succession,” said prime minister Harris.
The meteorological service said last Thursday that rain from the storm will continue in the Dominican Republic for days for a total of around 19in.