It’s been more than a week since hurricane Irma pummelled the eastern Caribbean with category five force, causing at least 44 deaths.
In the British Virgin Islands, one of the areas hardest hit by the storm, residents are coming to grips with the widespread damage and facing the long road to recovery.
One Caymanian, now a Tortola resident, said the situation could be worse than Ivan.
“People who lost everything, they need as much help as they can get. They need supplies. They need support,” said Nick Quin, who spoke to Cayman 27 via video chat from Puerto Rico Friday (15 September.)
“The situation right now on the ground is definitely improving,” said Mr. Quin of the current state of affairs in Tortola. “We see the military out on the roads, helping clear the roads, there’s JCB’s, there’s dump trucks clearing debris, there’s police, it’s much more organized than it was in the immediate aftermath of Irma.”
After the storm, reports of widespread looting and a prison break involving more than a hundred inmates circulated in the international media, depicting a island teetering on the brink of lawlessness.
But Mr. Quin told Cayman 27 Irma’s aftermath has also showcased humanity at its finest.
“They’ve literally lost everything but they are all rallying together, helping themselves out, friends, neighbors, families… just random people you meet on the streets, people are giving each other lifts and sharing food, sharing water. It’s, it’s times like this where you know, it does restore some faith in the human spirit,” said Mr. Quin.
And now, the veteran of hurricane Ivan years ago is further humbled by the power of nature.
“I went through Ivan in Cayman, and that was, I thought that was bad, and this seems, so much worse. It really is quite terrifying, the sheer power of mother nature, yeah, it’s just really scary,” said Mr. Quin.
The United Nations office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs estimates Irma’s economic impact to the region to be in the neighborhood of US$10 billion.