Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

St. John, US Virgin Islands, Feel Abandoned in the wake of Category 5 Hurricane Irma

Reports of looting, lawlessness, hopelessness. Where is the Federal Government?

 

September 16, 2017

Marina Leonard/ Twitter

On the dock at St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, supplies for hard hit St. Johns are loaded.

St. John in the US Virgin Islands was hit Friday by the most powerful Category 5 hurricane to ever come out of the Atlantic. Florida has taken all the press, attention from FEMA and the Coast Guard. Meanwhile, on St. John, power is out. There are reports of heavy damage and looting. Federal authorities are nowhere to be found, by some reports.

Amier Salem, whose family owns the Bayside Mini-Market in Cruz Bay, has been living in the store as he tries to get home to St. Thomas. He said Wednesday during the storm people wearing masks were out robbing local businesses. They came to his store, he said, and he shined his light on them and yelled "Don't try it. They knew who I was and they went away," he said.

He was luckier than Josephine Jansen, who four months ago opened a bar call Slim Man Snack Dragon in Coral Bay. She had been blockaded in her home by debris and wasn't able to get out until Saturday. When she finally got to her business she found that people had broken in looted it of the beer, liquor and other goods. http://stjohnsource.com/2017/09/10/st-john-a-long-road-to-normal/

The New York Times reports that must aid reaching the USVI, has in fact come from private citizens in Puerto Rico, also hit by Hurricane Irma. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/us/puerto-rico-virgin-islands.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=span-abc-region®ion=span-abc-region&WT.nav=span-abc-region

But where is the US Government? Apparently, virtually all assets are tied up in Florida, also hard hit. The following is from a tweeter called St. John News:

Twitter

Private citizens collecting relief supplies for St. John, on St. Croix nearby.

"I'm scared. Those are words I never thought I would write when referring to St. John. But I'm scared. We're only four days into this mess, and we're hearing some awful things. For starters, Joe's Rum Hut was broken into the day after Irma hit. The ATM was stolen. They attempted to get cash out of the register, but it was empty as Joe's closed for season earlier this month."

The ATM next to Cruz Bay Landing was stolen. The ATM at the ferry dock was stolen. Scooops has been broken into. St. John Insurance has been broken into. They hold almost all of the insurance policies on this island. Makes you wonder the intentions of that burglary, doesn't it?"

"Dolphin Market in Coral Bay was looted the very first night. We heard this morning that the customs building in Cruz Bay was broken into, and that guns were stolen. We heard that there was at least three robberies at gunpoint on Gift Hill.

This is not St. John anymore. I'm not sure what it is. What I do know is I am scared. My friends are scared. And we don't know what to do."

 

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