- CIRA/RAMMB; GOES-16/NOAA
Places like Barbuda, Anguilla, the Virgin Islands, and Cuba got hit by the worst of the storm, with some islands reporting that upwards of 90% of structures were damaged or destroyed. Days after the storm passed, people in some places say there is still no power, fresh supplies, or signs of relief.
Laura Dixon Strickling, an opera singer, lives with her husband and 1-year-old daughter on St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands.
“We’re only five days into this and it feels like it’s been a lifetime,” Strickling told Business Insider on Monday. “We don’t have information, we have not seen one first responder, we have not seen one police officer. “Everyone in our neighborhood is walking around with sharpened machetes and guns for protection.”
Here’s what the aftermath of the storm looks like as residents assess damage and seek out support.
Irma first engulfed tiny Barbuda, part of the dual island nation Antigua and Barbuda, on September 6. The storm “totally demolished” the island, damaging upward of 90% of structures, according to the nation’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne.
Browne told Anderson Cooper that he estimated it would take $100 million to rebuild.
The monster storm next slammed into the resort islands of St. Martin and St. Barts.
The French government reported that the French side of St. Martin sustained more than $1.4 billion in damage. Nine deaths have been reported between St. Martin and St. Barts.
On the Dutch side of St. Maarten, more than two-thirds of homes were reportedly left uninhabitable.
Four people there have died, according to reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday that he plans to visit St. Martin to see the damage.
Citizens of these islands have criticized European governments for being slow to respond to the dire situations on lands under their control.
Source: Washington Post
Irma’s destruction has left thousands homeless on these islands.
The British territory of Anguilla also suffered extensive damage. Military personnel arrived after the storm to assess the situation.
Cuba evacuated a million people from vulnerable areas, but massive storm surge waves flooded the island, destroying trees and buildings and killing at least ten.
The British Virgin Islands were also hit hard. The AP reported that the “wild isolation that made St. Barts, St. Martin, Anguilla and the Virgin Islands vacation paradises has turned them into cutoff, chaotic nightmares in the wake of Hurricane Irma.”
St. Thomas and St. John in the US Virgin Islands were slammed by the storm. Many residents say they fear that their desperate situation will be forgotten due to the chaos Irma has created in Florida.
“St. Thomas and St. John are pretty devastated,” Rep. Stacey Plaskett, the Virgin Islands’ delegate to Congress, told USA TODAY. She said the only hospital on St. Thomas — an island of more than 50,000 — was crippled, and many buildings simply weren’t able to withstand the storm. Plaskett estimated it will take years to rebuild.
Source: USA TODAY
Three US NAVY vessels have reportedly been sent to provide aid, but many residents have said they still don’t know when they’ll have a reliable source of food, electricity, or access to clean water.
A bar owner on St. John told the Washington Post that “people there are roaming like zombies” and that no one knows what to do.
Source: Washington Post
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Strickling told Business Insider. “The only way it’s going to get better is if we get more troops … we need a show of force and security so people know that help is on the way.”