Hurricane Irma swept through the Turks and Caicos Islands late Thursday/Friday morning. For nearly a week, my husband and I watched as this powerful storm ripped through Barbuda and then the Virgin islands. We watched as it moved closer and closer to Turks and Caicos. After seeing the devastation, I grew more and more nervous about our precious Provo and about the damage this storm was capable of.
The closer the hurricane got to Turks and Caicos the more nervous I got. I could not stop watching. I did not wish for it to hit anywhere else over Turks and Caicos. My preference would be that it had turned around and missed everything. However, Providenciales is personal to us. It is our happy place…Provo is the place that makes us happy. Therefore, seeing what the storm was capable of just made me sick.
Thursday night before we went to bed, my husband texted a friend on the island and he told us that he was in the basement and his roof was gone. We knew then that it was bad, really bad. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to actually be present during a hurricane. I was in Turks and Caicos in 2015 when Hurricane Joaquin hit the Bahamas. That was NOTHING compared to Hurricane Irma. Hurricane Joaquin was scary, so I cannot imagine how horrifying Hurricane Irma was.
The Aftermath of Hurricane Irma
When I woke up on Friday morning, I was almost hesitant to look at my phone because I was scared of what I might see. Thankfully, the damage was not as bad as expected. The damage is in fact BAD, but nothing compared to poor St Martin and Barbuda. From what I have read, most of the damage is superficial and fixable. There are trees down, power lines down, and flooding. Many lost roofs and I am sure there are homes that are lost as well.
However, the most important thing is that those are are THINGS and can be replaced. No lives were lost and that is the biggest blessing of all. The damage could have been much worse. However, even though Provo was somewhat spared to the worse of the storm, some of the other Turks and Caicos islands were not.
Hurricane Irma Damage
This morning I watched a video that has been the best yet of documenting the damage that was done. The video records as they drive and document the damage along the way. It is over 20 minutes so it covers a lot of footage. While this footage is heartbreaking to see, it is also a blessing to know how much worse things could have been.
I just saw a post on Instagram that the Providenciales Airport is now fully operational as of today and that international flights have resumed. Just a few days ago I saw a picture that showed flooding at the airport. So, this is great news for those that are currently trying to get into the island or off. Also, I’ve read that they are working hard to get power and water restored and that some already have it. So, this means they will soon be ready for “tourists” to come again.
Turks and Caicos Strong
I feel confident that the people of Turks and Caicos will pull together and help one another pull things back together. As sad as I am to see this damage, I must keep in mind that I am a tourist to this island. I do not live there and I am not there having to face all that they are going through. We must continue to pray for the people who live there as they are the ones who are truly impacted by this great place that they call home.
So many people have been worried about when the resorts will accept guests or can they keep their vacation plans…I am included in that…but, we have to remember this is a vacation spot for us and home for them. The homes, jobs and daily life for the locals is more important than us being upset over a missed reservation. Thankfully, the island is coming together and rescheduling is an option.
Book your Trip
Although we must respect the people that call Turks and Caicos home, we must also continue to go there. They need tourist money now more than ever. Do not just cancel your trips…instead…reschedule. My husband and I are scheduled to leave November 9th. I am keeping that reservation. We fully understand that the Grace Bay area is not going to look like it did a few short months ago when we were there. I understand that things are going to be different, however, it doesn’t matter. We want to go and support this island and help them get back on their feet. Tourists are so important to them….so let’s keep booking and going.
How to Help
I have found several different ways that you can donate to help the beautiful place.
Turks Community Schools and Churches – Click Here
Non-profit Organizations helping the Turks and Caicos – Click Here
Ocean Club Resorts Staff – Click Here
Royal West Indies Staff – Click Here
Hurricane Irma Relief Fund – Click Here
Turks and Caicos Red Cross – Click Here
Next, I cannot leave off Hurricane Harvey and relief for Florida:
Red Cross | Hurricane Harvey – Click Here
Texas Forever | Magnolia – Click Here
Red Cross | Florida – Click Here