Puerto Rico opens arms to refugees from Irma’s Caribbean chaos
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, (Reuters) - Saddled with economic problems and its own damage from Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico is taking thousands of refugees from the U.S. Virgin Islands whose homes were destroyed by the storm, with a cruise ship carrying up to 2,000 more due to set sail for the U.S. territory yesterday.
Visibly shaken residents from St. Martin and the Virgin Islands arrived on Tuesday on U.S. military aircraft, bringing tales of terrifying winds and a breakdown of law and order.
“The people of Puerto Rico - what big hearts you guys got because our (local) government did nothing nothing,” said William Vonfabrice, 61, from St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. “People coming at us with machetes, offering bullets and saying ‘There is more for you,’ breaking into houses, hurting people.”
Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas cruise ship was expected to depart the badly damaged St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, last evening bound for San Juan, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands commissioner of tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty said.
Irma skirted Puerto Rico last week, knocking out power to 70 percent of the island, damaging buildings and killing at least three people, but the destruction was not nearly as bad as elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Aerial view of devastation following Hurricane Irma on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands September 8, 2017, is seen in this still image taken from social media video. MANDATORY CREDIT Caribbean Buzz Helicopters/via REUTERS