Hurricane Irma leaves destruction in its wake

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By Helen Witte

Contributing Writer

Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm with winds that went up to 185 miles per hour for three days, devastated the Caribbean Islands and southern Florida in the past week. According to CNN and USA Today, 44 people in the Caribbean islands and 26 people in Florida died as a result of the hurricane.

The Caribbean Islands were impacted the most by the storm. The diminishment of food and fresh water supply, the damage of infrastructure, and the increase in crime throughout the islands are just some of the horrific impacts that Irma had. According to CNN, 99 percent of all structures on the islands were partially damaged.

Many resorts were damaged as a result of the storm, thus harming the tourism industry, which accounts for 15 percent of the islands’ GDP.

The island of St. Martin was devastated by the effects of Hurricane Irma. Source: Jim Wyss via Miami Herald

Sophomore Rae’Niqua Victorine was born and raised on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Her family was affected by the hurricane.

“I left to come to Simmons two days before the storm hit, so it was very distracting and emotionally draining to start classes that week,” Victorine said. “I was the communicator between my parents and my grandparents because no one had any cell service.”

Southwestern Florida was also severely impacted by Hurricane Irma. According to the Washington Post, after the immediate impact of the hurricane, approximately 6.5 million customers were out of power.

In some areas, it was predicted that the communities would be out of power for a week.  According to the Buisness Insider, floods reached up to 5.03 feet in Jacksonville, which beat the record of 4.1 feet in 1964.

Sophomore Jess Pupo’s Miami neighborhood was also affected by the hurricane.

“I am very grateful that all my family lost was power and a few nights of sleep. I was so worried about them since I was in Boston and couldn’t be there to help out,” Pupo said. “My heart breaks for all the families who lost a lot in the hurricane, because it could have easily been mine if the hurricane stayed on its original path.”

Countries and organizations throughout the world are helping with relief efforts.

According to CNN, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, the U.S., Venezuela, the Red Cross and Unicef poured money and troops to help establish order in these communities and give its citizens some basic supplies.

The problem is that these troops and supplies are not enough to help begin recovery from the damage of the hurricane and more efforts are needed. If you are interested in donating to Hurricane Irma victims, the American Red Cross, Unicef, and GlobalGiving are top rated organizations which will give your money directly to those in need.