It has been a sad beginning to the month of September. This month is officially known as the most active in the June to end of October hurricane season for the Caribbean. Regardless, I have lived and spent many summers in the region to know well enough that the chances of a destructive hurricane hitting–of category 1 or 5–are super slim.
And then it happens. Hurricane Irma’s destructive path across the Caribbean region’s most popular destinations is heartbreaking. Read this article on The Guardian with a quick initial recap on the state of the various islands post-Irma.
1. Where to find official updates
As media, I receive daily press releases on the current state of each island. I will share as much as I can, or you are free to inbox me for info. Your best bet, however, is to check daily updates on the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Storm Watch Center web page, with info per island as the news come in from their respective governments on the ground.
When I do receive helpful updates from the CTO that aren’t uploaded yet, I am happy to share here (will update the page frequently).
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association is also providing excellent daily updates on their Hurricane Information Hub and on Facebook.
Recent updates from the islands:
An audio clip that just came in from Turks & Caicos’ Director of Tourism: http://bit.ly/2wP96Wt
Update 9/8 – St. Maarten: An audio interview with St. Maarten‘s Director of Tourism – hoping to get airport back up and running in a week or so: https://soundcloud.com/user-255201979/st-maarten-hurricane-irma-update
Update 9/8 – Puerto Rico (press release excerpt): ” While the assessment of impact across the island continues, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s preliminary report shows that major tourism infrastructure and attractions are operational and the island can continue to welcome new visitors. While power outages are present throughout the Island, many hotels, as well as essential services on the island such as hospitals, are operational due to generators and the majority of hotels throughout mainland Puerto Rico are ready to welcome new guests. “
Update 9/9 – Anguilla: The island got hit very hard. For instance, Princess Alexandra Hospital, and businesses such as CuisinArt, and Blanchard’s were badly damaged, while Dune Preserve was completely demolished. You can find regular updates on the Anguilla Beaches blog, posting daily from the ground.
Update 9/9 – US Virgin Islands: St. Thomas and St. John suffered devastating damage. You can read updates on the Virgin Islands Consortium blog, including this moving piece on the aftermath, with comments from USVI Governor Mapp.
2. Where to donate
You can already donate to the CTO Hurricane Relief Fund, which supports the CTO’s member islands. Any amount helps.
Update 9/9: A fundraiser has been set up for Anguilla by the Anguilla Beaches website owners. The monies will be audited by a professional accountant and handed to the Anguilla Red Cross for distribution to those most in need, and for emergency supplies. On that same page, you will find additional links that have been set up for individual business donations.
Update 9/10: The American University of Antigua is raising funds to send directly to Barbuda for emergency relief. AUA promises to match every donation to the fund.