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Dreamy Scenes From A Caribbean Nightmare

Hundreds of thousands without power, thirty-two dead and more expected, and “a long road ahead” for St. Croix, Puerto Rico, and much of the Caribbean Islands. Photographer Jimmy Wilson captures the carnage. 

full frame // Oct 24, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s hard to overstate just how devastating a month it has been for the Caribbean. Hundreds of thousands without power, similar numbers without solid sources of clean water. The third Hurricane to rip through the Caribbean in a month, Hurricane Maria can now lay claim to at least thirty two lost souls. 

In Puerto Rico, early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service said failure of the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico is “imminent” and could cause “life-threatening flash flooding” downstream on the the Guajataca River.”

We’ve been checking in with Jimmy Wilson, who has been hunkered down on St. Croix with Dylan Graves, Ben Bourgeois, and Otto Flores, as they wait for the green light to fly home to Puerto Rico.

“We’re ok here on St. Croix but the island is completely destroyed,” Jimmy wrote on Saturday. “There’s not going to be electricity for months, the airport’s roof caved in and there are no flights out. Any boats that weren’t totaled are not allowed to leave to go to other islands. Puerto Rico is just as bad or worse. My phone is not working. Luckily we found one person who allowed us into his house to borrow internet (the only place I’ve seen working on the island). I have no clue when I will be able to get out of here.

If anyone knows of good babysitters back in Encinitas I need help for Koura’s mom. I’m unavailable to get in touch with, so if you know Michelle [Jimmy’s lovely baby-mama], please reach out.

In the meantime, while we’re stuck here we have been doing tons of work helping people gain access to clean drinking water and that’s been a positive. Thanks for all the support with Waves For Water. It’s going to be a long road.”

When we last heard from Graves and Flores, they were still reeling from news that

Flores home had taken a heavy beating back in Puerto Rice. Graves was yet to hear back from his family. Today, good news came from the crew, with Graves checking in with this hopeful message:

“I was able to get on a flight Monday! Thank you everyone for the help! I am bringing 500 water filters and meeting up with the Waves For Water team in SJU [San Juan] and gonna get to my side one way or the other! I will be able to give updates via my wife Carly Rabjones once I get to Isabela.”

As they’ve been nearly the entire month of September, our most positive thoughts are with the people of the Caribbean. Here’s a list of ways you can help, from the New York Times today:

All Hands Volunteers

All Hands works with local volunteers and groups to respond to natural disasters. With Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, it is focusing its efforts on the U.S. Virgin Islands. “Our help is needed in the islands, so that’s where we’ll be,” said Erik Dyson, the group’s chief executive.

ConPRmetidos

While its main focus is on promoting innovation by connecting Puerto Ricans abroad to those on the island, this local nonprofit has also started a fund to help victims of Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund

The government of Dominica is collecting donations through JustGiving, a crowdfunding website. The money will go toward temporary roofing, blankets and non-perishable foods.

AmeriCares

The relief and development organization, which provides health services to those in need, said that it was working with officials in Puerto Rico to stock emergency shelters with medical supplies. Earlier in the week, it had airlifted $1.8 million worth of medicine and supplies to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Catholic Relief Services

Donations to the faith-based group will help to provide shelter, water, tarps, tents, kitchen kits and other supplies to families affected by the storm, it said.

GoFundMe

The crowdfunding website maintains a list of verified campaigns, many of them local, collecting donations for victims of the storm. Donors can give to a campaign or directly to GoFundMe, which will then distribute the money to the campaigns.

Unidos por Puerto Rico

This initiative, from Beatriz Rosselló, the first lady of Puerto Rico, enlists private sector help in providing aid to those affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Donations are accepted through a variety of means, including PayPal.

GlobalGiving

This crowdfunding website connects donors to nonprofits and companies around the world. Donations will be spent first on the immediate needs of victims and then on longer-term recovery efforts “run by local, vetted organizations,” according to the website.

International Medical Corps

The group has been working with local authorities to provide emergency care after Hurricane Irma and said it had moved medical supplies into place ahead of Hurricane Maria.

Head to Waves for Water to donate and help this cause. 

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