UPDATE: Mon., Sept. 18
Barbuda’s ambassador to the United States, Ronald Sanders, said that no one is left on the island after the impact of Hurricane Irma. He reported that residents from the island were evacuated to Antigua, the neighboring island which reported less damage from the hurricane in an interview with Public Radio International.
“For the first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda — a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished,” he told the reporter.
Click to listen to the full report on Public Radio International.
Click to see images from Hurricane Irma on weather.com.
UPDATE: Sun., Sept. 17
Reports continue from the Caribbean islands affected by Hurricane Irma. Here are a few links today:
Click for an account from a group attempting to leave the Caribbean: Windowless cars, damaged boats, rare flights aid Tortola escape after Hurricane Irma
Click for video from parts of St Maarten after Hurricane Irma.
Follow reports from the U.S. National Hurricane Center on Hurricane Maria.
UPDATE Sat., Sept. 16
Assessments of damage and need are underway in areas affected by Hurricane Irma. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has response personnel in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Virgin Islands (UK), and Turks Caicos Islands.
Anguilla – Most of the primary and secondary roads have been cleared; the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal is closed until further notice; Road Bay Port in Sandy Ground is functional to receive cargo and all banking institutions will be operational from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, every weekday until further notice.
For people and businesses who would like to offer aid, the CDEMA CU encourages cash donations through
the Emergency Assistance Fund (EAF) to purchase items locally to restart the local economy. Click for details.
UPDATE: Fri., Sept. 15
A press release from Caribbean travel groups said that Antigua was impacted minimally and the V.C. Bird International Airport has been open since Sept. 7. Most all of the hotels and resorts reported minimal damage and are open for business. Several were closed for the season and are on schedule to reopen as planned.
Barbuda, with approximately 1,800 residents, was severely impacted by the hurricane which passed directly over the small island. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said 90 percent of homes were destroyed. Barbuda’s hotel infrastructure was also damaged.
POSTED Thur., Sept. 14
By Dorie Cox
Hurricane Irma became a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Sept. 5, with maximum sustained winds near 185 mph. Islands impacted include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Montserrat.
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 6, the storm impacted the Turks and Caicos and the northern border of Haiti before moving to the southeastern Islands of the Bahamas on Friday before hitting Florida over the weekend.
(Click here to read our updated story about the storm’s impact in Florida.)
Damaged lines of communication have hindered contact with the affected islands, but The Triton will share updates as they come in.
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) continues to issue updates on each area on the group’s website.
Six Caribbean marinas run by IGY Marinas are reported to be under repair. A company press release said crews are working with local and international emergency services and relief organizations for cleanup and repairs.
“At this time, we are optimistic that our marinas will be operational in most, if not all, affected locations for the upcoming winter season, and we will provide frequent updates on both our specific operational capabilities and the state of the surrounding infrastructure upon which our facilities, to some degree, rely,” the release stated.
“Hurricane Irma has not only affected IGY’s marinas, but also the Caribbean’s nautical tourism industry. Small business is critical to the overall health of the international maritime sector, and IGY intends to lead the way in the recovery of local marine trades affected during one of the strongest storms in history.”
IGY marinas currently under repair are:
Blue Haven Resort & Marina in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Marina at Yacht Haven Grande in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI
American Yacht Harbor Marina in Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI
Yacht Club at Isle de Sol in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
Simpson Bay Marina in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
The company release said Rodney Bay Marina in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia is fully operational.
U.S. and British Virgin Islands
The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) reported yesterday that there have been seven confirmed deaths and an indeterminate number of injured persons in the British Virgin Islands. Preliminary assessments are that 60-80 percent of the buildings throughout the territory are damaged or destroyed with a large percentage of the building roofs severely compromised. The BVI Airports Authority allows flights for emergency and relief purposes only and Port Purcell seaport is available to accept vessels with shipments.
The website includes brief reports on the following islands:
Anegada: No loss life. Generators available on island and specific personnel have SAT phones to ensure communication.
Virgin Gorda: Heavy impact in north sound.
Jost Van Dyke: Many homes have been damaged.
Peter Island, Mosquito and Necker Island, Gunna, Camanoes, Scrub Island all experienced some level of damage.
Click here for full details.
Security on the islands remains a concern. The prison was severely compromised and all 150 prisoners escaped.
“An indeterminate number of prisoners returned on their own accord, while others stayed to assist in the community restorative efforts,” according to the website.
Online videos posted on Caribbean Buzz Helicopters’ Facebook page show extensive damage on several locations on the U.S. and British Islands at www.facebook.com/pg/caribbeanbuzzhelicopters
The Bitter End Yacht Club sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irma, according to the company website. The site said the resort was closed for the tropical season and employees who were on site during the storm are safe.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
St. Martin and St. Maarten suffered sever damage from Hurricane Irma. Estimates on Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, are that seventy percent of the buildings were destroyed.
An article in The New Yorker stated that officials reported that at least four people had been killed and two hundred people were missing on the Dutch side of the island with at least ten reported deaths on the French side.
Click for news from CNN.
St. Kitts and Nevis
The Marina at Christophe Harbour in St. Kitts is open with fuel and berthing services for those displaced by the storm. The marina is partnering with YachtAid Global, serving as a regional base of operations as well as coordinating relief efforts with groups such as the Department of Maritime Affairs and St. Kitts Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
“Considering the minimal damage that was sustained, the islands’ tourism providers have reopened,” Katherine Verano, director of marketing, said in an email to The Triton. “Our restaurants, attractions and shops are open as well as the RLB International airport. Hotels are returning to business as usual and guests are continuing to enjoy their stays.”
Turks and Caicos
Turtle Cove Marina in Turtle Cove, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos was devoid of yachts during the storm, according to Neil Rooney, a restaurant and bar manager in the Caribbean, on Monday, Sept. 11.
On Sept.13, Rooney reported that he was safe in COMO Parrot Cay Resort with electricity, water and cell service.
Rooney and others are posting updates on stormcarib.com/reports/current/tci.shtml
Antigua and Barbuda
The board of directors for the Antigua Charter Yacht Show issued a press release today that said Antigua suffered less damage than Barbuda. The following is the release from the Antigua Charter Yacht Show:
“Antigua’s vibrant yachting industry remains thriving and open for business. That’s the word from bosses at the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting in the aftermath Hurricane Irma which passed through Antigua & Barbuda on September 6th, 2017.
“While Barbuda bore the brunt of the category five storm, Antigua was spared the damage wreaked across so many of our regional neighbours.
“Our hearts go out to all of our Caribbean brothers and sisters impacted by this disaster and we are now hard at work helping our beautiful sister island of Barbuda recover and return to its former glory as soon as possible.
Directors and staff at the Antigua Charter Yacht Meeting have convened several times over the last few days to put firm plans in place to help ensure Irma’s path of destruction does not extend to the region’s economic mainstays of tourism and yachting.
“Your contribution is also invaluable. The Caribbean is well used to hurricanes and has time-tested plans and strategies already in place to help us bounce back quickly in the event of a disaster such as Irma. Our infrastructure is strong, our landscapes adaptable and our people strong and resilient. We ask nothing of you except that you continue to come here and enjoy what nature blessed us with – namely, our unrivalled sailing conditions and spectacular scenery – along with the hard work and dedication that earned us our prime position on the industry map. That way, you can help us help Barbuda and its proud, capable people get back on their feet.
“Meanwhile, efforts in Antigua are already in full swing to that effect. We are busy caring for and comforting almost 2,000 Barbudans. The international community has been very generous to date and donations are arriving to assist. The ACYM charity arm is identifying families in the greatest need and supplying food, plus school books and equipment for children of evacuees, many of whom escaped with just the clothes on their backs. Animal welfare societies, both local and international, have been feeding and tending to the animals and livestock left on Barbuda.
“While it might appear from media reports that the entire region is devastated, this is simply not the case. Just as Antigua was spared, so too were islands to our south and west. Today, as I write this, I am looking out over the sparkling water of Falmouth Harbour, at Montserrat on the horizon, and at the hummingbirds busy in a garden still full of flamboyant blooms and bougainvillea. Boats are in the harbours and at anchor off Pigeon Beach, and remained safely there throughout the storm.
“To conclude, let us reassure you, the Antigua Show organisation is firing on all cylinders and we look forward to welcoming you back this year with an action-packed calendar and the exceptional services that made our name.”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.