By F. Martin
TTC Service.- This early September hurricane Irma “extinguished” the island of Barbuda in the Caribbean and left “uninhabitable” the beautiful place.
Just a week later, hurricane Maria, a Category 5 also, penetrated the island of Dominica, 72,000 inhabitants, with sustained winds of more than 240 kilometers per hour. Dominic Roosevelt Prime Minister Skerrit described firsthand what was happening when the cyclone swept his island. Skerrit took refuge in his official residence and announced on social networks that his roof had been torn off. He said he feared for the poorest islanders.
“So far we have lost everything that money can buy and replace,” he said after the storm, adding that the roofs of almost everyone he had spoken had been torn off.
Despite the cataclysm, there is no doubt in the Caribbean that Barbuda and Dominica will be reborn. It is the same spirit that seems to cover the region in spite of the fury of the cyclones that have attacked it during this season and those that because of the climatic changes, will still come.
The government of Barbuda intends to rebuild the island, which will take time. Prominent international figures such as actor Robert de Niro are calling for help for the island.
Scientists think that due to global warming it is inevitable that hurricanes will become increasingly destructive in this part of the world.
Despite the harsh realities that lie ahead, before and after passing the dangerous storms that have ravaged the Caribbean these days, the islands have been preparing to neutralize their aftermath.
The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has activated a “CTO Assistance Fund” through the GoFundMe to help families and countries rebuild after the hurricanes, especially following Hurricanes like Irma and Maria, which has affected member countries.
According to the CTO, all the money raised through the organization’s Aid Fund will be sent directly to destinations affected by the catastrophic storms, with winds that reached 240 kilometers per hour.
“The damage caused by Hurricane Irma’s strength is an important example of why we must do everything we can to provide financial relief to those who need it most. It is through this fund that the CTO channels monetary assistance to our affected member states “said CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley.
“The CTO will be grateful for all donations to assist in the recovery efforts in these countries,” he said.
One opinion that must be taken into account is the New York Times one after the storms. “Some of the most idyllic — and tourism-dependent — destinations in the Caribbean have been crippled in the wake of one of the most powerful Atlantic basin storms ever recorded”, the newspaper estimated.
“Ferocious storms are nothing new to these islands, but Hurricane Irma, with its 185-mile-per-hour winds, was catastrophic. Cities, and some islands, are almost entirely in ruins.
Certain islands were better prepared than others as the storm roared from Barbuda, part of the country of Antigua and Barbuda in the eastern Caribbean, to the Florida Keys, destroying homes and infrastructure, including roads and hospitals; flooding hotels and restaurants; and leaving people without power, food and essential services”.
There is a crucial reality for the Caribbean to continue its fight to the death against hurricanes and the aftermath of global warming.
Tourism is the most important economic engine and the main source of foreign exchange for the region. In 2016, foreign visitors spent $ 31 billion in the Caribbean and are expected to spend an additional 5.3 percent in 2017. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that in 2016, travel and tourism contributed $ 56 billion in the Caribbean gross domestic product.