The damage left by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean varies from area to area, and poverty exacerbates much of it. Generally, the impoverished live in poorly constructed houses located in flood zones, and they often lack healthy surroundings. They often can’t bounce back as well as the general population.
Reports from a few islands are beginning to give a clearer picture of the aftermath. Antigua and Barbuda report the storm damaged more structures on Barbuda. It’s estimated that over 1,000 buildings within Codrington town in Barbuda have been damaged. In Cuba, the hurricane directly affected 13 of the 15 provinces.
BGR partners have distributed food to some of the areas affected and will continue working with partners in the areas of most need. According to the WHO/PAHO Hurricane IRMA 2017 Situation Report No. 3, September 11 2017, “Preliminary reports in the Turks and Caicos Islands indicate that the population has been significantly affected in several islands, with 80-90% of households damaged on South Caicos, 70% on Providenciales, 50% on Grand Turk Island, and <20% in Northern and Middle Caicos.”
Reports from the Virgin Islands also indicate that security has become an issue due to survivors’ desperation. The priority for BGR teams remains the same, regardless of the circumstances. The most important actions at this time are the ones that save lives, such as providing shelter, food, water and healthcare. BGR will continue posting updates as the situation permits.