A week after Irma, Caribbean devastation is laid bare

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Reddit0

(CNN)Before it struck Florida, Hurricane Irma crashed throughout the Caribbean, causing catastrophic damage.

Irma cut a devastating path, leaving at least 44 people dead in its aftermath; 11 in the French lands, 10 in Cuba, five in the British Virgin Islands, five in the US Virgin Islands, four in Anguilla, four in St. Maarten, three in Puerto Rico, one in Haiti, and also one in Barbuda.
The amount of destruction has been steep.
    One week since the massive storm made landfall, here is where things stand in the Caribbean.

    Structural harm

    Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin / St. Maarten, the US Virgin Islands, and Turks and Caicos were hardest hit, with around 99 percent of structures at least partly damaged.
    On Wednesday, the eye of the storm passed directly over the island of Barbuda, leaving the underdeveloped oasis just habitable. The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA) stated 99 percent of all buildings in Barbuda had been destroyed. There’s not any water or power service around the island.
    In Cuba, 13 of the nation’s 15 provinces are affected. Though flood waters are receding in Havana, flooding in mountain areas and coastal have left some communities isolated. Water supplies are polluted according to the UNOCHA.
    The storm’s damage also threatens Cuba’s food safety, with key agricultural crops such as plantains, rice and sugarcane damaged and food storage areas isolated or destroyed by flooding.
    Some 132 schools endured severe damage and nearly two thirds of the country remains without power based on state news.
    About Anguilla, a 90-square kilometer island that’s among several British lands in the Caribbean, 90% of all government buildings were seriously affected and 80-90% of the island’s schools are ruined, the UNOCHA explained. Electricity and phone lines are disrupted, so hospitals have limited capabilities and there is no water.
      About St. Martin / St. Maarten, an 87-square kilometer island split into lands administered by France and the Netherlands, police on the French side quote 60 percent of houses are uninhabitable.
      In the British Virgin Islands, 90% of the houses on the North Sound have structural or complete harm. 75% of the houses are damaged. The water systems of the island have been significantly damaged and power is scarce.
      Infrastructure was badly damaged on Turks and Caicos, a British overseas territory home to about 52,000 individuals, after Irma barreled through overnight Thursday into Friday.
      There is not any power, bottled water is limited and harm at a water treatment plant has halted supply of potable water. On South Caicos, 80-90% of houses are ruined; colleges, government hospitals and buildings have been hit.

        Relief attempt

        The UK, France, and the Netherlands have stepped up relief efforts, sending thousands of troops and promising aid bundles after criticism they reacted too slowly.
        The UK government has vowed £57 million ($75 million) in aid. Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Wednesday that the UK would set up 60 police officers and an additional 200 employees on top of 40 tons of aid and personnel.
          The UK needed a naval vessel, Mounts Bay, preloaded with emergency aid supplies in the Caribbean since July, and within a couple of days had restored power at Anguilla’s hospital and cleared the airport runway.
          French President Emmanuel Macron stated his administration had mounted one of the biggest airlifts since World War II. Some 85,000 tons of meals and 1 million gallons of water have been set up to St. Martin and St. Barthelemy.
          US President Donald Trump approved and signed a disaster declaration for the US Virgin Islands, unlocking $223 million in emergency federal financing. Trump also declared a major crisis in Puerto Rico.
          On Wednesday, Cuba obtained 7.3 tons of humanitarian aid, including mattresses, water, canned food and other vital supplies, from the Venezuelan government, according to the state news agency.
          NGOs such as the Red Cross and Unicef have stepped in. But in dozens of messages delivered to CNN via WhatsApp and text, many have stated the aid provided so far is not enough.
          Some 200,000 people are in need of aid in the southern Caribbean, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Martin, according to the World Food Programme.


          Looting has busted out on some islands. France’s Overseas Minister Annick Girardin said she watched people stealing televisions from shops. Residents have clarified struggles .
          The French government sent an additional 410 gendarmes and 80 police officers to maintain order in its Caribbean territories, where troops are routinely stationed.
          Macron vowed that the overseas branches would return to public order shortly. However, St. Martin citizens interviewed by CNN affiliate BFMTV explained that French police and soldiers have had small presence on the floor, also reported widespread looting.
          The Netherlands also deployed additional troops to contain what Prime Minister Mark Rutte described as “severe” post-storm looting on St. Maarten.
          About the British Virgin Islands, more than 100 inmates escaped in a prison break throughout the turmoil of the storm. It wasn’t clear whether the offenders were captured.
          Britain, which, unlike France, doesn’t routinely station troops in its lands, bolstered its military presence on the British Virgin Islands after the jailbreak. More than 200 British troops are now on the floor there. Some 47 UK police officers, 16 Caymanian and six Bermudian police were also deployed to help with security.
          But tensions are still high. On Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, one resident advised CNN that he was waiting at a petrol station when a man on a scooter cut the line of cars and pulled a gun out.

          Fiscal effect

          Early economic estimates place the fiscal price of Irma’s devastation at around $10 billion across the islands that are affected, according to the UNOCHA.
          Substantial declines are anticipated in the tourism and travel industry, making up about 15% of the area’s total GDP.
          In 2016, portions of the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti were torn apart by hurricane Matthew — plus a category 5 storm. Two resorts on Grand Bahama are still shut, leaving many residents still without work.
          If history is a guide, many islands in Irma’s route can expect to experience similar hardships.
          In St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, the French reinsurance body CCR has estimated that a 1.2 billion Euro reduction ($1.44 billion USD).
          On Barbuda, a rather underdeveloped island home to some luxury resorts, early estimates place the damage at around $100 million.
          Many of Cuba’s luxury resorts on the north shore — key in its expanding tourist market — have been hit hard, but state press reported on Monday that resorts will be open and ready for visitors in time for the season.
          Cuba’s agricultural industry has suffered considerable reductions, with state media reporting severe damage to livestock, fields, factories and warehouses. The sugar plantations of the country have been damaged by flooding — glucose is just one of its exports.
          State media reported over 71,000 chickens perished in the storm, and more than 12,000 acres of fruit and vegetables plantations were left seriously damaged — 4,188 of them to banana plantations.

          Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

          Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Reddit0