Hurricane leaves Langley man's family stranded in Caribbean
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 6:18PM PDT
Most of a Metro Vancouver family is stranded on a small Caribbean island and bunkering down between Hurricane Irma -- which just hit -- and another hurricane expected this weekend.
The Blackmores had headed to St. Maarten to settle their daughter at medical school at the American University of the Caribbean. They flew in on Sept. 2, days before Hurricane Irma hit.
- The university is posting the latest updates on the storm on its website
They managed a call out to their worried son Richard Blackmore in Langley saying they were alive, but that food, water and looters were a concern.
“My mother was just devastated,” Blackmore told CTV News. “I got an email from my father with what was a goodbye just in case. That night, the storm hit.”
Hurricane Irma has been pummeling Caribbean islands with waves as high as six meters, and wind speeds reaching 300 km/h. It’s the largest storm on record in the Atlantic and has already claimed more than 20 lives.
Footage taken over the island shows debris scattered, buildings without roofs, smashed boats in harbours and cars crushed under tossed trees.
Other footage from Instagram shows students at the American University of the Caribbean huddling inside a darkened room, briefly opening the door to see wind and the rain and then closing it again.
It’s a sign that the students there have some shelter, and hope to Blackmore his family will be OK.
But he knows that his family won’t be leaving soon – Hurricane Jose is now set for landfall by the weekend.
“Overall just with what I’ve heard from them it’s worse than it looks in the pictures. It just looks like a war zone. Looks like an apocalypse,” Blackmore said.
The Government of Canada is donating $100,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Management Agency to provide logistical support for relief supplies, and is also donating $60,000 from its Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund to support the Red Cross and the Red Crescent in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
St. Maarten is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and shares part of the island with Saint Martin, a French territory. Both countries have sent troops to distribute supplies and to restore order.
Blackmore hopes his family will be OK – but he knows that Hurricane Jose, a category 4 storm, will make landfall this weekend.
“There’s another hurricane coming. That writes off any way of getting out,” he said.
When I first found out I would be attending medical school in the Caribbean, never did I think that I would experience the strongest Atlantic hurricane in history. Thanks to the friends that helped make this night a lot less scary, and thanks for the memories Irma, hope I never see you again ✌ PS this video was shot during the peak time of the hurricane @victoria.brown95 @eranges_21 @ekondilis @coopervissers @kearndynasty . . . . . . . . . #passionpassport #travelnoire #dametraveler #wearetravelgirls #radgirlslife #darlingescapes #sidewalkerdaily #ladiesgoneglobal #traveldudes #globelletravels #travellushes #sheisnotlost #girlslovetravel #earthgirllifestyle #jetsettingchicks #femmetravel #bestvacations #travellershouts #exploreshareinspire #wanderlustinitiative #travel #travelgram #Medicine #Medschool #wanderlust #instatravel #Medstudent #Caribbean #hurricaneirma #beresponsibilty