Unfortunately, just as we were launching Family Traveller in the U.S., Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the Caribbean. As travelers ourselves, we were devastated by the new that many islands received severe and crippling damage, not to mention the Florida Keys. Islands such as Barbuda and St. John are nearly destroyed, with others barely touched. To keep you abreast of the islands, for your future travel plans, as well as how to support those needing help, please continue to visit this article with hurricane updates that we will update as news continues to pour in.
Antigua and Barbuda
While Antigua was untouched by Irma, its smaller and neighboring island of Barbuda was decimated. Travel is impossible to this island at this time.
Donations to Barbuda are being collected at the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross.
Ninety percent of the island received impact from Irma and the island is receiving aid from Britain to help. Travel to this island is not recommended at this time.
Much of the Bahamas as resumed operations. However, cruise ports are being assessed and if you have cruise plans, should contact your cruise line. Travel is open to the main islands at this time.
British Virgin Islands
BVI received a direct hit from the hurricane and experienced mass destruction. The island is not safe for travel at this time, and many resorts, such as Bitter End Yacht Club, were destroyed.
Sir Richard Branson, who owns Necker Island in BVI, is leading the donation efforts through the Virgin Group.
Taking a direct hit from Hurricane Maria, the small island received extreme damage just days before our site launched. Many lives were lost and 70 percent of buildings were damaged following the Category 5 storm. Travel is not Sade at this time.
Funds are being raised to help Dominica through Dominica America Relief and Development Association.
The island was not harmed and travel is safe.
Although the island was lucky during Irma’s wrath, Puerto Rico’s direct hit by Maria has crippled the island. An already failing power infrastructure was severely damaged and the entire island lost power. Officials report it will be months before power is restored in entirety. Travel to the island is not recommended.
A local disaster relief fund has been established for the island through ConPRmetidos.
St. Kitts and Nevis
Although minor damage was reported, the islands are safe for travel.
The island took a hard hit from Irma and received extreme damage, including destruction of Eden Rock Hotel. Travel to this island is not safe at this time.
St. Maarten / St. Martin
The island took a hard hit from Irma and received extreme damage, with nearly 95% of the French side destroyed, and numerous incidents of looting and robbery are being reported. Travel to this island is not safe at this time.
Turks and Caicos
Receiving some damage, the airport is currently closed and cleanup is underway. It is expected the islands will be safe to visit sooner than most.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Both St. Thomas and St. John received significant damage following Irma. The airport is currently closed, ferry service is limited, and there is a curfew. Travel is not allowed at this time.
While St. Croix did not receive damage from Irma, it did get hit by Maria. Power issues and cleanup are underway and the island feels it will be ready for travel soon, but should be avoided in the next few weeks.
Singer Kenny Chesney, who lives on St. John, is leading recovery funds for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands through his No Shoes Nation.
While the entire state, save for the Panhandle, was hit by Irma’s strong winds, causing millions to lose power and trees to be uprooted, the majority of the state dodged the same damage found in the Caribbean. However, the Florida Keys, which islands dot the Caribbean, was severely damaged and cleanup is underway. It will take time before the Keys can accept visitors, but the rest of the state will be functioning as normal within a couple of weeks.
GlobalGiving has an Irma Relief Fund to support those impacted in the United States, and other agencies are collecting on behalf of the islands, including UNICEF, Oxfam and the Salvation Army. SPCA International is collecting on behalf of pets and Save the Children are helping children in the islands.
Written by Lissa Poirot