Latest update from Celia, the director of the St. John Community Foundation:
“A humbling yet inspiring time…” Maria is now bringing rain and dangerous winds from the opposite direction this time. St. John will be locked up tight by 6pm to ride out the storm. Supplies had been topped off and people received several days worth to hold them while sheltered for this storm, while those who were in a position to buy groceries have been able to do so. Local law enforcement complimented by Military and Urban Rescue teams, who are sheltered in place on St. John, will be there to respond immediately and will get support from those deployments who will return to St. John after the storm passes.
Community meetings this morning simply stressed that residents should NOT stay in their home if it’s roof or windows have been damaged (go to a shelter or neighbor’s before 6pm) and to stay INSIDE as debris already on the ground will become mortally dangerous. Expect roads to get washed out, more trees and power lines blown down with the winds coming from another direction, and be ready for roofs and walls that made it through IRMA to be compromised.
Most power and internet is to be cut at noon to protect the equipment, so expect limited communications until after Maria passes; it will resume in stages.
Gifft Hill School is now being called the “private school for public use” and will open for currently enrolled students 9/25 at 9am. On the 25th at noon, they will start interviewing families who want to send their children there. Money should not be a consideration, just a willingness to learn and a desire for continuing education. They will enroll students until they are at capacity, and then figure the rest out. More details to come on how to help them continue cultivating strong minds and caring hearts. We will be supporting St. John School of the Arts, Parks and Rec and other’s’ efforts to ensure the youth are engaged in the aftermath of these storms. We are joining forces with a stateside Adopt-A-Family program for St. John families and will share details as it comes together.
Much gratitude for the amazing support from St. Criox during IRMA, we will pray for our sister island who is likely to get the brunt of MARIA and support our Crucian family in anyway possible. The outpouring of stateside assistance, and the resilient St. Johnians who have self organized to help take care of each other, continue to be nothing less than action packed and awe-inspiring!
We will be back in response mode for the next several days, while at the same time continue to focus on long term recovery with experienced partners who have bounced back themselves after similar disasters. Support coming in now will help us revive and rebuild in what is going to be a long road ahead. To make a donation to the Foundation for St. John IRMA relief efforts (PayPal is waiving all fees) go to http://thestjohnfoundation.org/donate