By Anthony Faiola
12 September 2017

CRUZ BAY, U.S. Virgin Islands (The Washington Post) – The Asolare restaurant is gone, practically blown off its cliff, along with its world-famous carrot ginger soup. The facade of Margarita Phil’s is a junkyard of yellow and vermilion planks. Multimillion-dollar homes and aluminum huts alike lie in ruins.

On the island of St. John, that was only Irma’s beginning. Once a lush gem in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a chain steeped in the lore of pirates and killer storms, this 20-square-mile island is now perhaps the site of Irma’s worst devastation on American soil.

Six days after the storm — some say several days too late — the island finally has an active-theater disaster zone. Military helicopters buzz overhead and a Navy aircraft carrier is anchored off the coast, as the National Guard patrols the streets.

The Coast Guard is ferrying the last of St. John’s dazed tourists to large cruise ships destined for Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico. More than a few locals, cut off from the world with no power, no landlines and no cellular service — other than the single bar you might get above Ronnie’s Pizza — are leaving, too, some of them in tears.

Debris and destruction caused by Hurricane Irma is seen on St. John Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo: Anthony Faiola / The Washington Post

The streets of Cruz Bay, the largest town of this island of roughly 5,000, were a bizarre tableau of broken businesses and boats on sidewalks. Beyond belief, the Dog House bar had not only a generator but satellite TV, and folks streamed in and out, some stepping over debris holding beers. [more]

After Irma, a once-lush gem in the U.S. Virgin Islands reduced to battered wasteland


  1. Anonymous said...

    I don't feel anything other then glee when I see the devastated hotels, posh resorts and multi-million dollar homes being destroyed.

    These are the signs of capitalism meeting climate change reality. Good riddance.

    But the idiots will rebuild. And they'll get enormous amounts of U.S help to do so. And they'll "come first" to - before the people who don't have big bank accounts.

    It is the indigenous people who live in the trailers and shacks that I feel for. Their lives are now that much harder. They don't have insurance like the indifferent rich. Or probably even health care. Or golden parachutes - or any kind of retirement plan at all. Just like me and lot of poor Americans.

    They don't have an army of corporations salivating at the prospects of new profits during the "rebuilding" phase of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. They don't have credit lines, bank deals, business partners or suppliers to help out either.

    They're just the little people - who had their island taken over by the rich, the multi-nationals who forced them farther and farther inland, bought up their farms and cooperatives, turning the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico into a U.S. territory for profits and 'vacation homes' for the wealthy.

    I don't feel anything except loathing the creeps who will take this opportunity to exploit the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico even more, buying up destroyed properties and choice locations, repeating the same destructive, exploitative practices as always.

    Both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will be another perfect examples of how stupidly we will "rebuild" in a faked response to climate change. We won't learn a damned thing, just like Houston didn't and won't, just like Florida didn't and won't.

    We're all going to witness some of the stupidest responses in human history now, but you have to take your blinders off to see this reality.

    Opportunistic profiteers will step in and pretend to offer what they can never, ever deliver. A new civilization and financial opportunities built upon the wreckage of the old, with the same lies, deceit, exploitation and destruction required. It'll be shiny, glitzy and fresh, with a new coat of paint to hide the same horrifying truth lying underneath it all.

    The facade of 'better adaption' and new found 'security' while repeating the exact same mistakes of our industrialized past (profits and opportunity for even more profits), furthering a destructive civilization even farther on the ashes of the old.  


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