AFTER THE STORM
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have
left fields of destruction on their paths from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of Texas, islands in the
Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, and Florida in the first weeks of September.
The eye of a hurricane: https://youtu.be/v6vypwhluEg
Some places have been devastated.
It will take months to rebuild Barbuda, Puerto Rico, and parts of the Virgin Islands. Sadly, residents of many small islands
in the Caribbean, like Domenica, have lost their homes, electricity, water, trees, fruitful gardens, schools and churches,
as well as hotels and restaurants getting ready for the important winter tourist season.
At this writing, volunteer agencies ask individuals eager to volunteer not to come alone. Join a group,
many of which are listed with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, VOAD, which acts as a clearing house of
current knowledge and best recovery efforts for helping specific areas. Money donations are always welcome, as needs in each
locale may differ. See: https://www.nvoad.org/ .
French, Dutch, British,
and American disaster relief personnel supplied basics to their respective islands. But the disasters demand some time just
to get your head around them. "It came out of the ocean screaming like a woman in childbirth," said a resident about
Maria in Puerto Rico.
you plan to vacation in a few months, check out some of the hardest hit: the Florida Keys, Miami, Naples, Puerto Rico, the
U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Cuba, St Martin, St Barts, Guadaloupe, Antigua, the British
Virgin Islands, especially Tortola, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and above all, Barbuda which was levelled. As a tourist, you
can help by enjoying what they offer as their best.
**** Quick updates: For the hardest hit, power and water problems might linger, and you might hear the rumble of
diesel generators here and there. Most roads are cleared, but some beach roads are not, giving a sense of the terrible impact
mostly of Maria, but also of Irma. Above all, spirits are high. The future looks good.
Barbuda: The island had a small but important tourism
presence, and suffered devastation. For more on how rebuilding is coming along, see a daily blog and click on
the link "Visiting." Spending some time on Antigua is highly recommended first.
island Antigua is enjoying a rise in cruise traffic.
Puerto Rico is a federal disaster zone from its encounter with Hurricane Maria on
September 20, but its beautiful beaches, though changed in some cases (sand moves around), always welcome tourists. The airport
is open; only some resorts are still closed while working on reopening; but most hotels are open. You might share services
with relief workers. But remember, your tourist dollars are gold to Puerto Rico now, and greatly appreciated. For an update,
The U.S. Virgin Islands, St Croix, St Thomas, and St John are doing the best they can with restored power and water.
Debris was a big problem, as the National Park Service moved steadily west to east in its clean-up. The Malids Turtles which
once spent a lot of time in St John have moved temporarily elsewhere, but are expected back. The Emerald Beach Hotel has reopened
on St Thomas, and St Croix's famous Buccaneer Hotel is up and running. St Thomas is open for cruise ships. Best source is
a daily blog: www.newsofstjohn.com
The good news is a $243million
HUD grant to rebuild. "Everyday gets a little bit better," said a resident.
On the laid-back British Virgin Islands, tourist life is slowly coming into focus again,
and scientists mapped the ocean floor around the islands to study storm wind patterns. The popular luxury tent Anegada Beach
Club has reopened http://anegadabeachclub.com/