Last week, Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean Islands and the southeastern part of the United States. While the effects were not as drastic as originally predicted in the United States, 23 people died and millions were affected by flooding and loss of electricity.
Hurricane Harvey caused an estimated $75 billion in losses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that the combined cost of repair from the hurricane in the United States is $90 billion and it will take years if not decades, to recover and restore the places hit the hardest.
Unfortunately, the Caribbean island nations endured the storm at its Category 5 climax. The island of Barbuda reported that almost half of its residents were left homeless and that one person died from being swept away by a flood. Most of the Caribbean islands’ emergency responders were unable to help anyone until after the storm; many of the supplies needed were damaged. As of Sept. 13, 44 people have died from Irma’s impact in the Caribbean.
“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,” said St. Martin resident Leroy Webb in an interview with CNN.
With any major natural disaster, there is always a worry of robbery in the wake of the event. Both the southeastern part of the United States and the Caribbean nations are attempting to limit the post-storm crime rates. Mike Scott, Lee County sheriff, stated in a USA Today article, “We will make examples of the first few who try it,” referring to looting homes and stores abandoned by evacuees of the storm. “It’s not an idle threat. It’s a guaranteed promise.” In Fort Lauderdale, nine people were arrested after getting filmed by a news station camera crew breaking into a shoe store and stealing items. There are no reported deaths due to burglary in places affected by the storm.
In response to Irma’s aftermath, the five living former presidents have teamed together to aid those affected by the storm. Naming it “One America Appeal,” the effort is intended to help victims of both Harvey and Irma. The project was initially aimed at helping those affected by Harvey, but Irma came soon after and was included. Over one million people have been displaced by the storms and the cost of the damage, including the Caribbean islands, is estimated to be around $180 billion. The “One America Appeal” is a bipartisan effort to unify Americans in a time of crisis.
While President Donald Trump is not included in this plan, he has visited multiple sites that were affected by the storms and fully endorses the “One America Appeal.” He tweeted on Sept. 7, “We will confront ANY challenge, no matter how strong the winds or high the water. I’m proud to stand with Presidents for #OneAmericaAppeal.”