SAU Buzz

Hurricanes pummel Caribbean Islands

by Mary Roche
Posted on Sep 21, 2017

Hurricane Irma devastated Florida, but not until it devastated many Caribbean Islands. Now, it’s expected that Caribbeans may have to deal with Hurricane Maria as well.

Tropical storm Maria has just been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to follow nearly the same path as Hurricane Irma, further devastating the Caribbean, Cuba, and possibly Florida.

NBC predicted that the storm could hit Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and more.

In terms of damage, Barbuda was declared uninhabitable, as 95 percent of homes were at least damaged. Many were destroyed. According to Loop News Barbados, one fatality has been recorded and much of the island is underwater.

At this point, evacuation is not mandatory, but Prime Minister Gaston Browne is earnestly watching the advance of Hurricane Jose. Many citizens were able to find accommodations on the nearby island of Antiqua, but are homeless on Barbuda. Luckily Antiqua was largely spared from the hurricane, as it was one of the best places to retreat from the destruction in Barbuda.

According to Browne, the island has no running water, electricity or telecommunications. It may cost over $150 million to restore much of the damage and the recovery efforts will take years.

The split island of Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten has also been nearly ruined. At least six people have been killed and hospitals have been hit as well. St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana airport was also devastated. Irma blew away fences, broke buildings to pieces, and dumped sand all over runways. The extent of damage is still being estimated.

On the island of St. Barts, it has been difficult to receive any information because Hurricane Irma broke their weather station. Phone lines blew across the island and people were confined to their homes or government shelters. Police officers huddled in the fire station after the roof was ripped off the police station.

After blustering through St. Martin and Anguilla, Irma pounded St. Thomas, second largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dozens of residents reported flooding, destroyed homes and collapsing roofs. Emergency responders were dispatched from the U.S. to help recovery in the Virgin Islands. Flooding has affected hospitals, emergency shelters and schools, but no fatalities have been reported so far.