After the 2017 hurricanes of Irma and Maria swept through the Caribbean and decimated the island of St. Croix, residents were left to deal with the consequences while feeling frustrated about the lack of effective response from their federal government. That government would be the United States, since some of the Virgin Islands, including St. Croix, are U.S. territories. Local companies like Cane Bay Partners pitched in to help the island’s residents obtain essential supplies and start rebuilding.
Of the two storms, Hurricane Maria had the worst effects on St. Croix, ripping through in mid-September. Much of the devastation was due to flooding, but sustained wind speeds were clocked at more than 150 miles per hour. At the end of the year, about two-thirds of the residents still didn’t have electricity. Many homes were destroyed; others had roofs blown off. Cell phone signals were intermittent and the sound of generators was pervasive.
Fortunately, by the time spring arrived, significant progress had been made. Tourists coming to the island might barely realize a Category 5 hurricane had hit land there except for September’s news reports.
Most of the island has power again and nearly all the damaged lodging establishments have been repaired and are open for business. Tourists still are competing with relief workers for lodging, however, so travelers must lock in reservations before arrival.
Restaurants, shops, golf courses and cinemas are open for business. The popular activities of snorkeling and scuba diving are being participated in near the same level as before the hurricanes. Many trees had been lost, but foliage has grown back quickly, thanks to the warm, sunny climate that receives plenty of rainfall.
Things are better now, and the residents of St. Croix are moving forward. Back in those dark days of autumn, however, these people had plenty to say about how slowly and ineffectively their government responded to the dire situation they were facing. They justifiably felt as though they had been forgotten. They were grateful they could count on help from businesses that did whatever it took to provide bottled water, first aid items and other supplies.