Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Food & Hunger

These Caribbean Islands Are Running Out of Food and Water in the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma

Lex Kools leaves food and water for his neighbors' dogs in the Cole Bay community, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Martin, Sept. 12, 2017. Hundreds of people across an island shared by Dutch St. Martin and French St. Martin are trying to rebuild the lives they had before it was pummeled by a Category 5 storm.
Carlos Giusti/AP

They survived Hurricane Irma’s record winds and flooding.

Now, those stranded on 13 Caribbean island communities — Antigua, Barbuda, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas, and Cuba — face another threat: they’re at risk of running out of food and water.

In the communities ravaged by Hurricane Irma, some lack access to clean drinking water, means of communication to call for help, or a way to escape the islands, according to the Miami Herald.

So far 38 people have died as a result of Hurricane Irma, but that number could rise if food and water do not reach people soon, CNN reports. Meanwhile, some people are still trapped inside their homes and beneath the rubble, according to NBC.

Take Action:Help the World Food Programme Get the Funds They Need to Fight Famine

Global Citizen is calling on governments help those in poverty during times of crises so that no one is forgotten. You can take action here .

Since last week, the hurricane’s destruction has caused a massive power-outage in St. Martin, left many without running water, and exasperated people’s ability to store and prepare food.

Embed from Getty Images

Before Hurricane Irma made landfall, an estimated 49 million people lived directly in Hurricane Irma’s projected path, including more than 10.5 million children, according to the United Nations.

An estimated 1.2 million people have been affected by the hurricane, but that number could rise to 26 million, according to the Red Cross.

In St. Martin, 70% of homes on the island were destroyed. Grocery stores that survived the storm have been emptied by looters.

“All the food is gone now,” Jacques Charbonnier, a 63-year-old resident of St. Martin, told the New York Times. “People are fighting in the streets for what is left.”

Read More:Hurricane-Battered Cuba Has Sent 750 Doctors to Other Caribbean Islands to Help After Irma

Embed from Getty Images

The World Food Program (WFP) is sending 20 tons of high-energy biscuits to Antigua and St. Martin, enough to feed 17,000 people for three days, the UN announced on Tuesday. The WFP is also sending 10 tons of biscuits to the Turks and Caicos islands to feed over 8,500 people, and has already sent over 80 tons to Haiti.

A conglomerate of aid organizations and government are sending aid, health workers, and means of evacuation to residents of various Caribbean islands, but some say help is not reaching those who need it most.

A local volunteer in St. Martin, Cindy Peters, said her social media feed is full of people asking for help and supplies.

“People are in dire need of drinking water and potable water and the government needs to do as much as they can,” Peters told The Miami Herald. “I hope that when the officials show up and go on these tours they are also bringing supplies.”

Read More:Hurricane Irma Leaves As Many As 150,000 Puerto Ricans Without Safe Drinking Water

Embed from Getty Images

"I even don't know how long it will take before people here get food. This morning, my wife was making soup with just two potatoes in it. We have nothing to eat," a resident of St. Martin told CNN.

Neighbors are supporting each other and sharing food in some of the islands, including St. Martin and the US Virgin Islands, according to CNN.

Staying on the islands is not a sustainable option, according to US officials and aid organizations.

Some people have traveled from ravaged Saint Martin to Puerto Rico, where at least there are US aid workers and means of communication. They reported people looting and picking up from the street what supplies they can in order to survive.

Learn more about how you can help here.