The aftermath of Irma, Maria and Hugo
Three major hurricanes have slammed the United States and its territories this year: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The U.S. Virgin Islands were hit twice.
In St. Croix, the aftereffects of Hurricane Irma are mind-boggling. The eye slammed across the Northern Caribbean Sept. 6 like a buzz saw.
Mary O'Reilly Dema grew up in Newport and moved to St. Croix 40 years ago, now a family of snow-birds, spending her summers in Rhode Island and her winters there.
She's coordinating the local relief effort in Southern New England, hoping Irma's victims are not forgotten in the series of storms this year
“Many, many people have no insurance. We're not an affluent community by any means. The population of the Virgin Islands is 103,000 people. There is no question everyone's been affected. No one's been spared,” said Dema.
Less than two weeks later, another Category 5 hit. This one was named Maria.
“The eye was as close as being a bulls-eye on St. Croix. People on St. Thomas St. John, I would well imagine, had no idea another hurricane was coming in their path. There was no communication. Everybody's cut off,” Dema said.
Dema knows what hurricanes are like. She and her family went through Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 in St. Croix.
“The struggles are ongoing, with how do you take care of your family?” Dema said.
After Hugo, with help from the Newport Restaurant Group, the non-profit St. Croix Foundation was thoroughly vetted to insure help from here gets directly there to those who need it. It's in full swing again, after Irma" and Maria.
“The horror of the aftermath sets in. It’s absolutely grueling, months on end. You can't get out of your driveway, your car's been ruined,” Dema said, adding that there wasn’t air conditioning or electricity. “It's terrifying.”
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