Caribbean reels from hur­ri­cane’s wrath

The Week (US) - - News 5 -

What hap­pened

More than a dozen Caribbean is­lands lay in ruin this week af­ter Hur­ri­cane Irma dev­as­tated the re­gion, killing nearly 40 peo­ple and turn­ing lush par­adises into post-apoc­a­lyp­tic waste­lands. The storm struck with Cat­e­gory 5 force, with wind speeds of 185 miles per hour, bring­ing pun­ish­ing waves and lash­ing rain that flooded cities and towns across Cuba, An­tigua, Bar­buda, An­guilla, St. Martin, St. Barts, and be­yond. Wide swaths of the U.S. and Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands were re­duced to rub­ble; in some ar­eas, Irma lev­eled 90 per­cent of the build­ings. Amid the chaos and des­per­a­tion were wide­spread re­ports of loot­ing and other crimes. On Tor­tola in the B.V.I., as many as 100 “high-risk” pris­on­ers broke free, seized weapons, and roamed the is­land, as Bri­tish For­eign Of­fice min­is­ter Sir Alan Dun­can warned of “the com­plete break­down of law and or­der.” On St. John in the U.S. Vir­gin Is­lands, Na­tional Guard troops pa­trolled the streets and the Coast Guard helped evac­u­ate va­ca­tion­ers to cruise ships bound for Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Many of the is­lands are ter­ri­to­ries of dis­tant Euro­pean na­tions, com­pli­cat­ing re­lief ef­forts and leav­ing many res­i­dents feel­ing aban­doned. Sur­vey­ing dam­age in St. Martin and St. Barts, French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron promised “to re­build not just a new life but also a bet­ter life.” Bri­tish for­eign sec­re­tary Boris John­son toured the B.V.I. and An­guilla amid wide­spread crit­i­cism that London had been slow to re­spond. “We are feel­ing very much like the stepchild,” said An­guil­lan lawyer Josephine Gumbs-Con­nor.

Sur­vey­ing the dev­as­ta­tion in St. Martin

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.