Battered by back to back storms, massive property damage, and in some places, buildings and an island are uninhabitable in the Caribbean. In some places crumbling structures, mudslides (blocking roadways hindering relief efforts), no electricity or clean water. As if this list was not long enough, add to it a health crisis due to unsafe drinking water and the death toll from these storms will continue to rise.
The islands of Puerto Rico and Virgin Island (US territories) Cuba, Barbuda, Saint Martin, Dominica, and other smaller islands in the Caribbean seem to be total decimation in the lives of their people and economies.
In the middle of devastation, there is hope. In spite of slow responses from governments (the United States is not alone) and land grabbing, opportunistic investors; it’s not hopeless.
Rising up taking matters into their bare hands for their survival and their neighbors, Islanders are pulling together helping each other find materials in the rumble for shelter and food. These people are not giving in to despair.
Barbuda an island of 1,600 residents was completely evacuated and residents will literally have to pick up pieces (scrapes) to rebuild their lives but they are back on their island.
A group of unions and nonprofits are working together with Operation Agua, a new program to fund and deliver water filtration devices to homes, schools and relief centers in Puerto Rico and hopefully throughout the Caribbean. It’s reported these filters can purify up to 10.5 gallons of water per day for a family.
Lajas a town about 100 miles from San Juan, Puerto Rico was spared the worst of the storms. An oasis protected by mountains on the north and mangrove trees on the south has had electricity for 3 weeks.
La Parguera a seaside resort in Lajas resumed their free Sunday salsa lessons. The dance instructor Arturo Luciano led a row of dancers in the central plaza of the resort, speakers blaring Puerto Rican salsa music and bellowing into the microphone “Puerto Rico Arriba!” This is a welcome escape for those fortunate enough to afford the trip to Lajas.
“They aren’t spending as much cash. There’s no ATMs”. “Everyone needs their cash to buy food, ice and gas for the generators” Nancy Vega, a waitress at La Parguera told the Miami Herald.
It will be a while before things return to normal in the Caribbean but I believe God and people power will prevail.
There will always be storms. Weeping may endure for a night but joy does come in the morning with confidence in God and our ability, we rise.
So to our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, Virgin Island, Cuba, Dominica, Barbuda and St. Maarten – – ARRIBA!!!!
You can make it.