These Caribbean Islands Are Running Out of Food and Water in the Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
Nearly 50 million people live on the islands affected by the hurricane.
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.
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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.
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.”
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.”
"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.
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.
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