By Aliezah Hulett, International News Writer
Starting September 19, Caribbean Islanders began bracing down for Hurricane Maria’s fall onto their homes. As of July 2017, Puerto Rico was 9 billion dollars in debt. By May, the nation was $74 billion in debt and had declared bankruptcy. Hurricanes Irma and Maria have destroyed houses, hotels, and any hopes of saving the economy for the foreseeable future. After the first hurricane, Irma, some neighborhoods throughout Puerto Rico were able to serve as relief sites. However, Hurricane Maria came soon after and all of the Caribbean islands have been suffering. Massive flooding and the fear of another disaster during hurricane season will keep tourists and workers in the tourism field off of the Caribbean islands, according to The New York Times.
Other nations throughout the Caribbean islands have also been financially unstable prior to this natural disaster. For example, Antigua and Barbuda, a smaller island located 28 miles north of the former have been struggling since the 2009 recession. Antigua’s businesses remain relatively unscathed, similar to St. Kitts and Nevis. The more unaffected areas are accepting visitors. The smaller island of Barbuda on the other hand is completely destroyed similar to the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands with fallen power lines, houses without roofs, and a dire need for drinkable water. “The Category 5 storm has obliterated parts of Dominica and battered Guadeloupe,” as quoted by UNICEF. Now that 90% of all properties and buildings are destroyed, residents can’t even recognize where their beloved cities used to be. The Florida Keys, Cuba, St. Martins, St. Barthelemy, and Antigulla might be able to recover a bit faster. “Right now, the livelihood of tourism on a whole is in a coma,” said Jen Liebsack, 45, an events and sales manager at a luxury hotel in Anguilla to The New York Times.
Pictures from outer space show the destruction to trees and plants. In some areas of the Caribbean, what used to be lush green has been torn out of the ground by 160 mph winds and turned brown and salty. For areas such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the prospects for the future are good, even though over 70,000 people are currently being urged to evacuate. With allies in Congress, there is a guaranteed aid from the United States. Other areas in the Caribbean won’t be as lucky. All across the Caribbean, the present is murky. Local, national, and global charities are accepting donations to help victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 26th print edition.
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