Seven days after Hurricane Irma devastated two of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands, access to communication lines and critical supplies remain spotty and residents across the islands’ do not know how long recovery will take or what it will cost.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are typically thought of as lush tourist getaways in the Caribbean. But the hills have turned brown. Many of the islands’ approximately 100,000 residents, who are American citizens on American soil, insist that the Category 5 storm was unlike anything they’ve weathered before. Irma is responsible for at least 38 confirmed deaths across the Caribbean, four of them in the US territories. The storm’s 185 mile-per-hour winds and water stripped away the entirety of St. John and St. Thomas of plant life and, according to USVI Governor Kenneth Mapp, left well over fifty percent of properties destroyed.
Vice News’ Antonia Hylton spent time with residents who have almost nothing left.
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Hurricane Irma’s eyewall slams into the lower Florida Keys, lashing the island chain with fearsome wind gusts. The eye of the Category 4 storm was 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Key West as of 7:00 am local time (1100 GMT), bringing maximum sustained winds of 130 miles per hour and threatening dangerous storm surges. IMAGES
Hurricane chasers flew over Hurricane Irma on Friday capturing the eye of the storm on video. According to the US National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Irma has weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm as it approaches Florida after making landfall hours earlier in Cuba with maximum-strength Category 5 winds. IMAGES
Millions have evacuated and hundreds of thousands are without power as Hurricane Matthew – now a Category 3 storm – howls its way up the eastern coast of Florida and towards the Carolinas.
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