On Sep 5, Hurricane Irma, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, devastated Saint Martin / Sint Maarten as it tore through the Caribbean. The damage was monumental. In the initial assessment, it was reported that 95% of the island’s infrastructure was destroyed. Traumatized, people continued to be at risk in the aftermath as a series of storms continued to develop in Irma’s wake. Another hit would have been impossible to bare. It has truly been an extraordinary and catastrophic hurricane season.
The day after Irma, SXM festival started a Gofundme fundraising initiative at the request of the island's tourism bureaus. We wanted help to raise awareness of the situation on Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. We lobbied the media with whom we have been well received, to assist in getting the word out. We reached out to our community for donations. We remain actively engaged and are updated with daily reports from our team on island.
Since the hurricane, there has been constant activity on Saint Martin / Sint Maarten led by both government and private entities. A massive renewal effort is already well underway. Most of the debris on island has been cleaned. Now the ocean clean-up (boats and docks etc.) is being addressed. Many restaurants and boutiques have re-opened. The cruise ships are returning to port. Businesses and private individuals alike, are processing natural disaster insurance claims which must be resolved within 3 months of submission. Hotels which are a priority of the government, are deciding, in accordance with their damage assessment, whether it is in their best interest to rebuild completely for 2019 or repair and be ready in 2018. There is optimism and determination to rebuild better and stronger. We must not underestimate the resilience of the people of this island paradise.
Within 3 months, it is anticipated that the island will be cleaned up of debris.
In 1995, the island took a direct hit by Luis, a category 3 hurricane. it was 3 months before water and electricity services were restored. After Irma, it took only 6 days to do the same. The island will recover. There is no alternative as the main industry is tourism.If you want to help Saint Martin, please visit as soon as possible. We must not underestimate the resilience of the people of Saint Martin / Sint Maarten.
Within 3 months, it is anticipated that the island will be cleaned of debris. The beaches will be more beautiful than ever. Mother Nature is tough but she is also generous. In time, as the flora returns, St. Martin will experience a renaissance that will be reminiscent of the natural, untouched beauty of the island.
We are focused on helping St. Martin. Please continue to share this link everywhere you can: www.gofundme.com/rescuesxm
Hurricane Irma had immediate and long-term effects both in terms of the human toll and that of the infrastructure. All must be addressed in order to successfully rebuild.
Children, the elderly and the infirm are always the most vulnerable in the face of such a devastating natural event. Many of the victims did not have safe and secure shelter for a hurricane of this magnitud.
The psychological trauma of surviving storm at this level and experiencing it’s aftermath is difficult for anyone and especially for children.
In the initial assessment it was reported that 95% of the infrastructure had been destroyed. .As time passed, we received news that more structures than originally thought were still viable. All structures including homes, schools businesses and hotels must all be rebuilt solidly and without compromise and be fortified for this new era of storms. Mother nature is an awesome force and thoughtful planning and strategy is key to prepare for any future storms.