It has been an emotional week in the Caribbean to say the least. We are happy that our beautiful island home of St. Croix was spared from the worst of Hurricane Irma. We are sad for the loss and devastation on St. Thomas, St. John and the other islands that were in her direct path. We are overcome with pride for the way our community is coming together to help those in need.
On Wednesday, September 6, Hurricane Irma blew through the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Croix received tropical storm level winds and rain. Power lines, trees and brush were downed in some places. Seaweed was washed ashore. Remarkably, communication via cellular or internet was intact for most throughout the day. Power was out and has slowly been restored, with most of the island back in service now. Crucians are counting our blessings — and haven’t missed a beat in jumping into action to provide relief efforts for our sister islands.
As I write, just one week after the storm, some remarkable things have happened.
- A grassroots group has raised $205,820 through their GoFundMe campaign, Irma Relief for Our Sister Islands.
- Multiple relief and rescue trips have been made by Caribbean Sea Adventures, Big Beard’s, the QE IV Ferry, Water Spirit, and privately-owned boats.
- Sejah Farm, ARTfarm, and Yellow Door Farm have collected more than 1,800 lbs. of fresh produce for donation.
- Numerous restaurants have donated time, space and food to prepare meals for evacuees arriving on St. Croix.
- Tim Duncan, NBA superstar and St. Croix native, has raised $2,352,526 through his 21 Virgin Island Relief Fund and has sent a chartered plane with relief supplies.
- Country singer Kenny Chesney has launched Love for Love City benefiting his second home of St. John.
- Bohlke International Airways is serving as support and staging for military rescue and relief efforts.
Additional efforts are being made to provide temporary housing for evacuees. If you have a vacant condo, apartment or rental property you are willing to donate or discount for temporary housing, please let me know and I will put you in touch with the appropriate person. GoToStCroix.com has created a great resource for Hurricane Irma Relief Efforts if you’re looking for other ways to help.
St. Croix expects to see an influx of tourism in the coming months by way of cruise ships and short term travelers. In a recent press briefing, Governor Mapp says, “it’s going to be an opportunity to demonstrate that St. Croix can be a player in the industry. And it’s not going to be permanent, but it’s certainly going to be an opportunity simply because other destinations cannot house or receive guests. It’s going to be an opportunity for us as Crucians to demonstrate that we can host, we can entertain, we can secure, and we can give people a wonderful experience.”
This will be a long road to recovery, but St. Croix has a unique opportunity to do what we do best. #VInice
The Fedeles Team