“Right now, the people of the VI are without food, water, shelter, medicine and electricity.
But the whole British Virgin Islands community is rallying round”. NPR’s Jason Beaubien is in St. Thomas, and he reports the island is devastated.
With dozens of excursions canceled, cruise line companies are using ships in the area to evacuate those stranded on the islands and provide aid.
JASON BEAUBIEN, BYLINE: Prior to Irma, St. Thomas was a lush, green Caribbean paradise, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists a year to its beaches and resort hotels.
BEAUBIEN: You know, relief is starting to come in here, but things are still incredibly dire.
“Everyone approached us with a smile and warmth and asked how are you?” The rain was pounding down so hard on the roof over my head, the tin roof.
‘You can’t drive your auto without a weapon, it’s turning really nasty. It’s been more than a week at this point.
“I am talking about real capital infrastructure development by the British Government”.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk on Monday visited St. Martin, reviewing the damage done to the battered island with local leaders. “For the first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda-a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished”, he said. They loaded people onto aircrafts and helicopters and flew them to Puerto Rico. How’s that effort going?
BEAUBIEN: Across St. Thomas, you hear similar stories of people stepping up to help their neighbors during Irma.
BEAUBIEN: The nursing home has 12 residents, and only three of them are ambulatory. I was talking with David Mapp.
US President Donald Trump approved and signed a disaster declaration for the US Virgin Islands, unlocking $223 million in emergency federal funding.
“I was anxious that the children weren’t eating”, she said, tears streaming her face as she spoke of having to separate from them. “It’s really good for our airmen to go out and do the mission they train for in a real environment and it’s really rewarding for them”.
The storm’s damage also threatens Cuba’s food security, with key agricultural crops like plantains, rice and sugarcane damaged and food storage areas isolated or destroyed by flooding.
According to Rabinowitz, the only way for medical supplies from the States to reach St. Thomas directly, for now, is by private plane.
Over 100 prisoners are now back behind bars after the prison sustained substantial damage. This allowed desperate residents to venture out to try to get food, fuel and construction supplies. But also, getting the electric grid up is going to be key.
“We have done everything possible to accommodate refugees arriving and providing them with the most comfort for their stay”, Perez said. Where is the financial donations from the airlines including AA, BA and Jet Blue in all this?: Where are the donations from the beneficiaries of the Citizenship by Investment programs and where are the donations from those who get mega contracts from these governments, including the many PR and Advertising agencies; law firms and lobbyists?