On September 6, 2017, Category 5 Hurricane Irma came through the Caribbean and wreaked havoc on the Virgin Islands, along with several of our neighboring Northern Leeward islands. In this time of crisis, however, the island community has pulled together miraculous relief efforts that began the day after Hurricane Irma hit. Since social media has been the main form of communication for many in and around the devastated areas, we here at GoToStCroix.com have gathered as much of the information from as many sources as possible to provide contacts, safe lists, and organizations taking donations and sending relief supplies to St. Thomas, St. John and the British Virgin Islands (BVIs).
FEMA, VITEMA, and the US Coast Guard are working on St. Thomas and St. John to restore communications, secure and clear the ports, and provide medical care, clean water, food and shelter to the victims of Hurricane Irma. In the meantime, local organizations are raising funds to help with the relief efforts and taking in donations to help with the recovery of our fellow islanders.
FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO HELP…
Here are the top five things you can do to help with the relief efforts:
- Donate funds or goods to hurricane relief efforts!
- Host an individual or a family that has been evacuated
- Provide ready made meals for evacuees and/or volunteers
- Volunteer at the donation centers, or help load the relief supplies on the boats
- Foster an evacuated pet
Virgin Islands – Relief, Recover, Rebuild (VI-R3) (formerly known as ‘Irma Relief for Our Sister Islands’) is a “boots on the ground” transportation chain that was created to get supplies to St. Thomas and St. John from St.Croix, and to bring evacuees back to St. Croix. Irma Relief is working directly with the Coast Guard and VITEMA, and 100% of the funds donated go directly to relief efforts for our sister islands. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/irma-relief-for-our-sister-islands
Tim Duncan, a native of the USVI is reminding people “Don’t Forget About the Islands”. He has personally donated $250,000 to Hurricane Irma disaster relief, and will be matching financial donations up to $1,000,000. Donate here: https://www.youcaring.com/21usvirginislandrelieffund-942738
Love for Love City was started by Kenny Chesney, a part-time resident of St. John, to benefit Hurricane Irma disaster relief for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Donate here: https://kennychesney.com/news/448917/hurricaneirmamessage
Irma Relief for Our Sister Islands (“Irma Relief”) is collecting water, non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, gently-used clean clothing (folded and marked by gender and sized), towels, tools, medical supplies, baby food, and any other items to aid in the relief of the hurricane victims. Please drop off your donations at VI Cargo between 9am and 5pm (VI Cargo is located on the road connecting Sunny Isle and the Hovense refinery at at 6117 Castle Coakley).
STX Gives : Sejah Farm, ARTfarm and Yellow Door Farm are asking for donations of fresh produce, eggs, reusable bags, boxes and other items from fellow farmers and backyard gardeners on St. Croix. They will be bagging items in family sized portions to distribute to families in St. Thomas, St. John, and to those who have sought shelter on St. Croix. Donations can be dropped off at Sejah Farm VI between 5am and 7pm. Sejah Farm is located on Casper Holstein Drive,the first farm gate traveling south from Colquohoun toward Bethlehem Sugar Factory.
General : If you would like to volunteer to accept and sort/pack donations, load supplies, or any other tasks that require manpower needed for the relief effort, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make sure to note in your email any special skills you can offer that may be useful.
House Evacuees : If you would be willing to host an individual or family who has been evacuated in your home, please contact Cheryl Nelthropp at (340) 690-9479. If you have a vacant condo, apartment or rental property you would be willing to allow evacuees to stay in, please contact Nichole Reed at email@example.com or (678) 641-1766.
Pets : If you would be willing to foster a pet that has been displaced by Hurricane Irma, please contact Katie Nelson at (340) 642-5184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR LOVED ONES…
Here are the links for anyone trying to find out if their family members, friends or loved ones in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands have checked in as “safe” since Hurricane Irma:
- Safe List (USVI): https://irmasafetycheck.herokuapp.com/search/
- Facebook – St. John: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1906776062980950/
- Facebook – St. Thomas: https://www.facebook.com/groups/203829013487699/
- Facebook BVIs: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1460024590745354/
FOR THOSE STRANDED OR DISPLACED BY HURRICANE IRMA…
Getting Out of St. Thomas, St. John or the BVIs
There are several modes of transportation being organized, or already running, to evacuate tourists and refugees from St. Thomas, St. John, and the BVIs. In addition to privately owned commercial boats, ferries, cruise ships, and airplanes are being organized by federal and local organizations. Ports are being opened as soon as they are safe, so individuals can go to their closest port for information on how to get to St. Croix, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. mainland.
St. John : Boats are shuttling passengers from St. John to St. Croix as frequently as possible. The most up-to-date information on available boats can be found at: https://www.whattodo-vi.com/hurricane-irma-relief-in-the-virgin-islands-how….
St. Thomas : Cruise ships are being scheduled to transport visitors from the West Indian Company (WICO) dock at Havensight to Miami or San Juan, PR. Specific information, updates, and registration can be found at: http://www.usviupdate.com Visitor Information Center is open today and tomorrow between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at The Smoking Rooster restaurant at the WICO Havensight dock to facilitate questions. Anyone unable to fill out the form electronically will be able to do so in person at the Visitor Information Center.
BVIs : Anyone wishing to evacuate the BVIs can register on the BVI Evacuation List and see a list of available options for leaving the islands at: https://bvievacuationlist.org .
From St. Thomas and St. John, no health documents are required to bring your pets to St. Croix since you remain within the USVI. If you plan to travel to the mainland US, your pets must have an up to date rabies vaccination (with the past 12 months) and a health certificate completed by a USVI licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel. These services are available at any veterinary clinic on St. Croix and at the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center (SCWAC). The SCAWC is currently waiving the fees for these services for families from St. Thomas and St. John, but please call (3400 778-1650 to make an appointment.
If you are coming from the BVIs, the Department of Agriculture is allowing entry of dogs and cats withOUT health certificates, HOWEVER, they must be inspected by the Department of Agriculture veterinarian upon entry. It is critical that your contacts on St. Croix make contact with the Department of Agriculture here on St. Croix and notify them of your plans to bring domestic pets by calling (340) 778-0997. If you have any of your pets medical documents please carry them with you.
Evacuees being brought to St. Croix by Irma Relief are being placed in hotels, houses or shelters when they arrive, and are being given water, a hot meal, and basic comforts.
Individuals, including homeowners, renters and business owners, from the islands of St. John and St. Thomas who suffered loss or damages due to Hurricane Irma may register for assistance online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Individuals who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
Here are the official websites where you can find updates and information provided by federal and governmental agencies:
- FEMA: https://www.fema.gov/hurricane-irma
- VITEMA (Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency): www.facebook.com/vitema
- USVI Department of Tourism special updates: www.usviupdate.com
- BVI Department of Disaster Management : www.bviddm.com
Many individuals and companies alike have volunteered their time and resources, donated meals to volunteers or evacuees, donated goods or services, and we here at GoToStCroix.com want to thank each and everyone who has donated. Every dollar and every donation counts! Please help us to continue these amazing efforts as our sister islands work to rebuild and heal over the coming months and years. Thank you!