Puerto Rico opens arms to refugees from Irma’s Caribbean chaos

Stabroek News - - WORLD NEWS -

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

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