The Impact of Hurricane Irma and Maria on the Caribbean Islands
By admin September 25, 2017

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The impact and devastation of Hurricane Maria and Irma in the Caribbean Islands have been widespread, but coordination efforts for aid have until recently been limited. Among then  Bahamas, emergency evacuations disintegrated severe levels of tourism that the island fiscally depends on. Likewise, President of The Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, said he fears a future of devastated beaches undermining decades of investment. Along its path, Hurricane Irma also destroyed large parts of Barbuda. The governor, Rodney Williams, declared that in addition to the $300 million USD cost of rebuilding Barbuda, there was no system put in place for Antigua to decipher how to provide shelter, schools and medical care to thousands of displaced individuals.

In a public statement at the United Nations, Williams opened the floor to international aid asking countries how they would respond to similar international crisises. He went to stress, “We ask the international community to help us, not because we want to outstretch a begging bowl, but because forces far beyond our control have pushed us to this dire situation. Rebuilding Barbuda is not a task that we can undertake alone.”

During the opening of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, the Caribbean Leaders requested the international body to reconsider the way humanitarian aid is distributed to the vulnerable countries affected by climate change. Leaders proclaimed that millions of dollars in losses were already being afforded due to the rise of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. “Climate change and its consequences should not be a subject of speculation or debate,” Mr. Medina said. “It’s a truth which hits us and which causes great uncertainty.”

Discussions about international aid have undergone, and recently Micehele. J. Sison, the deputy United States ambassador to the united Nations told leaders on Monday that the USAID had committed $1.2 million USD to help Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma. Until now, American humanitrian aid has gone toward purchasing hygiene kits, delivering relief supplies, restoring water access, and assessing damage. In an interview, Diann Black-Layne, Antigua’s ambassador for climate change said: “There really has to be some sort of mechanism for insurance so we can have quick restoration after events such as this. If that doesn’t happen, we will have no choice but then to look for a compensation system. That’s not what we want, to spend years in court.” It is expected that she and other key leaders will request funding at a United Nations session in Germany in November.

Hurricane Irma was a major tropical storm of the 2017 Hurricane Season, primarily affecting Cape Verde, Leeward Islands, Greater Antilles, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, and the eastern United States. As of September 21st, total fatalities have been 102 and damage is estimated at $62.8 billion USD.  Discussions have gone underway for international monetary aid, resource assistance, and collective humanitarian efforts.

Related Readings:

How Hurricane Irma & Maria Can Devastate the Caribbean Marine Environment

How Caribbean Islands are Coping After Hurricane Maria & Irma

In Caribbean, Colonialism and Inequality means the Hurricane Hits Hard

Hurricane Irma & Maria Relief

Now It’s Hurricane Maria, and Caribbean Braces for New Hit

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