It was a mere 7 days ago that Hurricane Irma made her passage through the Turks and Caicos Islands, and yet for some it was a lifetime ago. While the island 's infrastructure continues to repair at an impressive speed, there are still many struggling with basic needs - food, water and shelter - and recovery efforts are ongoing for these communities.
So many of you have checked in to find out how the island is - we appreciate your care and concern. In an effort answer your questions, we wanted to give you an update of where the island currently stands, 7 days on from Irma. Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and more information can be found at the links below.
Canadian and British Military have flown in to assist with assessing damages and recovery needs.
Boats loaded with relief supplies from Provo have been visiting Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and South Caicos.
Fortis TCI - power company - continues to work hard to repair the power infrastructure to all of the islands. Impressively, only 2 days after Irma passed, some areas of Provo had power restored....kudos to the local Fortis TCI crew! Fortis Canada also flew in 60 employees to help with the ongoing and mammoth task before them - restoring power to the entire island chain. Their focus has been to power up essential services first such as hospitals, water plants, and airports. As of yesterday, Fortis reports that South Caicos Airport and a limited number of residents have power there, Grand Turk Water Plant has power and some areas of North Caicos have power restored. A large area of Provo has power. Temporary power outages may of course continue as Fortis continues to repair and rebuild the network. Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/fortistci/
Provo Water Company - 3 days after the storm, Provo Water reported that water service had been restored to a large swath of Provo from Leeward to Downtown. Valves were being opened for areas that were showing abnormally high flow levels, so that engineers could trace and repair leaks. They continue their repair work around the clock, hoping to have all customers hooked back up permanently in the near future. Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/provowater/
Communications companies - Digicel and Flow - also continue to rebuild their network on all islands. Digicel reports, as of Friday,Sept 15th, "Customers in Blue Haven and KKT (Leeward Highway) now have their Digicel service restored. They join those in: Five Cays, Pine Cay, Beaches, South Dock, Richmond Hills, Blue Hills, Tabernacle Church, Lower Bight, Venetian, Cinema and Wheeland, in Providenciales, where service was re-established earlier this week." Additionally, they posted today: "The COW(Cell on wheels) is ready to go out. It will be working hard in one of the neighboring islands to bring our network back to 💯" Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/DigicelTCI/
Flow reports tonight: "Our dedicated technical team has been working to restore our island's communication after the passing of Hurricane Irma. We are up and running in North, Middle Caicos, South Caicos, and Grand Turk. That means mobile service is restored to ALL major islands" Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/FlowTurksandCaicos/
Provo Airport is open for business. They post daily on their page the flights coming in and out. Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/ProvidencialesAirport/
TCI Government signed the Customs Order for import duty concessions for those importing relief items, valid through the end of October at which time it will be reviewed. Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/The-Office-Of-The-Premier-Turks-and-Caicos-Islands-306013699517366/
At least one primary school has reopened - allowing some sense of normalcy to return to those children.
The Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association posted that the following hotels are open in September - La Vista Azul; Seven Stars; The Palms; The Sands; The Shore Club; Windsong Resort (Sept 24th); Villa Del Mar (Sept 30th). As of October the following hotels are open for business - Alexandra; Beach House; Blue Haven;Gansevoort; Grace Bay Club; Ocean Club;West Bay Club; Royal West Indies; Tuscany; Regent Grand; Ports of Call (mid-October). Further updates can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTCHTA/
More restaurants are opening daily ~ we don't have a comprehensive list, but bear in mind, many restaurants close in September for their usual down period, so we will likely see more opening in October.
A few of the main grocery stores are open for business.
Government updates from the Department of Disaster Management can be found at:https://www.facebook.com/TCI.DDME/
With all of the above information, its important to remember that despite the great strides that have been made to get the island back up and running, there is still great need for some communities and individuals. Individuals, organizations, and local businesses on island are working together tirelessly to get help to those most affected. We will continue to gather information on how best to help from afar and pass that along in a separate post.
In the meantime, if you have a TCI visit planned and your hotel is open, please come to visit our beautiful beaches, oceans and people! The TCI community has shown great spirit in a time of great need. One of the best ways you can help is to keep coming to TCI!! The tourism economy will help to fuel the restoration of the island and restore normalcy to those who need it most.
~We hope to see you soon!!~