Now a little more than a week into the aftermath of Hurricane Irma’s destructive path through the Caribbean, the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) says the storm should create more awareness of the dangers of climate change.
“This is an opportunity for the entire Caribbean to champion the message of sustainable development,” according to the CTO’s latest written statement on the storm’s aftermath, “and help focus public attention on issues related to the dangers of climate change.”
Ironically, the powerful Category 5 hurricane forced the CTO and the Ministry of St. Kitts and Nevis to cancel its Climate Smart Sustainable Tourism Forum, which was set for September 6 - 8.
Perhaps the most encouraging part of the organization most recent Hurricane Irma statement is reports that several affected countries are beginning to open back up for business.
“In the wake of the storm we have witnessed the pain of those who lost loved ones, the agony of so many who lost their homes and all their belongs, and the angst of an entire Caribbean concerned for the welfare of the affected,” according to the CTO.
“But we have also witnessed the dogged determination that defines the people of the Caribbean who refuse to surrender even in the most difficult of times,” the statement continues. “It is because of this remarkable resilience that so many of the affected countries are beginning to open again for business; that the worst affected have their airports functioning again, if only to receive relief supplies and get visitors out; and it is this remarkable resilience that drives the process of recovery, reconstruction and refurbishment.”
Unfortunately, what can be considered one of the worst hurricane seasons in history is not in the rearview mirror just yet as Hurricane Maria is now setting aim for the "Leeward Islands late today and tonight, and then over the extreme northeastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night," according to the National Hurricane Center.
According to the National Hurricane Center, a hurricane watch is in effect for Puerto Rico (Vieques and Culebra); the U.S. Virgin Islands, the The British Virgin Islands, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten/St. Martin, St. Barts and Anguilla.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados.