A year on, Caribbean islands bear scars of Hurricane Irma

phys.org | 9/6/2018 | Staff
chrismpottschrismpotts (Posted by) Level 3
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One year after devastating Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean, the holiday islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barts are still counting the costs of one of the most powerful storms in history.

Fringed by white sands and turquoise waters, the islands have long been a favourite for honeymooners—but visitors to Saint Martin, which is split between France and the Netherlands, will find an island struggling to return to its former paradise status.

Families - Saint - Martin - Hurricane - People

Some families on Saint Martin, where the hurricane killed 15 people before continuing on its deadly path towards Cuba and Florida, are still living with no more than tarpaulins over their roofs as a new storm season gets underway.

Anet, a former florist, is now back at home with her three children after months of staying with friends—but her sons' bedroom doesn't have a wall, offering an unwanted panorama of the lagoon.

Loads - Mosquitos - Water - Electricity - Situation

"There are loads of mosquitos and we have no water or electricity. We can't stay in this situation," she said.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, she said she didn't have enough money to repair the house, where the family are mostly sheltering in the basement using battery-powered lamps.

Irma - Storm - Atlantic - People - Florida

Irma, the most powerful storm ever to cross the Atlantic, killed 134 people in total, more than 60 of them in Florida.

It dealt a major blow to the economy of hard-hit Saint Martin—heavily dependent on tourism—when it ripped across the island on September 6 last year.

Scale - Damage - Insurance - Coverage - Rates

The scale of the damage, low insurance coverage rates and administrative complications from the island's French-Dutch division have slowed reconstruction work.

Across the two French territories of Saint Martin and Saint Barts, 95 percent of buildings were damaged and the estimated cost of the havoc wreaked by Irma has come in at three billion euros ($3.5 billion).

Saint - Barts - Reconstruction - Work

Saint Barts was more fortunate: "The reconstruction work has basically been done,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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