A destroyed paradise, blown away from a hurricane, which now tries to regain a sense of normality. The Caribbean island of Saint Maarten was seriously devastated by Irma, the tropical storm that upset Central and North America in early September.
Words and signs of solidarity have come from many famous celebrities and various sectors: in the yachting world, the Monaco Yacht Show has launched a campaign to help both local people and their economy.
The message is directed to both big shipyards and owners from all around the world: St Maarten needs its yachts to come back to the harbours. Marine industry indeed plays a huge role in the infrastructure and success of the economy.
Of course, financial contributions would be precious. People can join the initiative according to the different solutions proposed on the website of K1 Britannia Foundation,
the association that promptly jumped into action a few hours after the hurricane passed over the island.
Hurricane Irma damaged over 90% of the buildings and homes on the Caribbean island, leaving many homeless and unemployed. K1 volunteers immediately jumped into action when weather conditions permitted it, rescuing individuals from damaged buildings and comforting those they met along the way. Together with the Dutch Marines, they distributed food and water at the selected mass distribution points.
About one month later, Saint Maarten continues its slow recovery path. Damaged buildings and facilities are progressively being rebuilt with the help of humanitarian organizations but the risk to miss the best tourism season is concrete. An economic damage that the Caribbean island can’t afford.
Mrs Valeska Luckert, owner of Palama Marina and secretary of the marine trades association, explains the situation: “Yachting industry has endured a lot of damage during Hurricane Irma and is doing its best to get itself up and running for this upcoming season. The marinas are working together to repair the docks and clear all debris that may be underwater for clear passage. Various marinas have already announced that they would be open and functional from November 1st 2017. Many beaches and tourist attractions are already operational“.
” The Marine Trades associations members are working hard to clean and rebuild as quickly as possible to be up and running for this upcoming yachting season. The island will not be back in full service as that will take some time. But we are confident that we will soon have a even stronger St Maarten.we are hoping that the yachting industry who has always given their support to us, would continue to do so by visiting our lovely island during this difficult period of recovery. We need the boats to return in order for us to recover.”
The editorial staff of The International Yachting Media repeats the call of the Monaco Yacht Show to help Saint Maarten, strongly convinced of the importance of supporting this wonderful island.