With the passage of Hurricane Irma through the Caribbean Islands, including the Turks and Caicos, we thank everyone for their well wishes and concern. It is heartwarming to know that people from all over the globe have our little island home in their hearts.
The passing of the storm, as you an imagine, was a terrifying event. Thoes on island will forever remember it as 'the most frightening 24 hrs of their lives'. We are all grateful and relieved that at the time of writing there have been no reported deaths in the Turks and Caicos Island Chain.
Less than 4 full days have passed since Irma, and the progress made to date has been impressive. Fortis TCI have restored power to large portions of the island as of yesterday evening. Simply amazing. Provo Water was able to turn on water on for 3 hours a day to allow people to fill up storage containers, before shutting it off to allow them to replenish their supplies and try and identify leaks. As of this morning, some areas seem to have water on again. Provo Airport re-opened yesterday for emergency flights, and is opening today to resume commercial flights. Digicel and Flow have been working to re-establish cell phone networks and data connectivity. Unbelievable progress in such a short space of time, and we salute those who have been working tirelessly to re-establish services.
The general consensus is that the tourist infrastructure is 'bent not broken' - which is good news economically for the island. Hotels will take some time to re-establish services and repair landscaping damages etc. But if the current rate of repairs is any indication, we think this will be sooner rather than later. Since tourism is the economic life-blood of the island, being able to receive visitors will allow the islands to start recovering and moving forward. For those that have asked -our dive boat survived with no damages and will be ready for the coming season!
With all of that said, some communities and individuals in the islands suffered catastrophic damage or loss of their homes, possessions and services. There are heartbreaking and overwhelming scenes of destruction.
Damages ares still being assessed, and we are still getting a sense of the best way to help and contribute to their recovery. Many of you have asked how you can help, and as we get more info we will update here.
The sister islands of Grand Turk, South Caicos, and Salt Cay currently have no connectivity, but the Cayman Islands Police Helicopter flew a contingent from Provo over to assess damages. Again, no loss of life was reported, but at first look those islands have suffered much loss. They are working to re-establish airport access to allow relief supplies to be delivered, and we will update as we receive more info.
As a Caribbean community, our thoughts are also with our friends and neighbours of the other Caribbean islands that were devastated by Irma. They are working also to re-establish communications, assess damage and alleviate suffering, and we are watching for updates also on how best to help.
The community of the Turks and Caicos Islands is proud, caring and giving. People are working together in this time of crisis to rebuild and move forward, in ways that are heartwarming, inspirational and make you proud to be a part of this island family.
On a final humorous note - I just received an update from a chat group on island, that the wine cellar is open for 4 hours today. A sure sign some sense of normalcy is starting to return :)