Hurricanes Hit Islands: Long Road Ahead for Power Restoration

Sept. 21, 2017
The Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage from Irma a couple of weeks ago

When a hurricane hits the continental United States, utilities from all over the country mobilize to head to the hardest hit areas to get power restored as quickly as possible. But when islands are hit, it's a different story. The Virgin Islands suffered catastrophic damage from Irma a couple of weeks ago, and as they barely got started on cleaning up, along came Maria. Hurricane Irma hit St. Thomas the hardest, destroying 90% of the island’s power lines and 80% of its transformers, according to a report from USA Today.

Then Maria, a category 5 hurricane, punished St. Croix approximately two weeks after Irma — another category 5 storm — pummeled the St. Thomas-St. John District. St. Croix was spared by Irma and was being used as staging ground to help the sister islands recover, according to The Virgin Islands Consortium.

Puerto Rico has not been spared either. When Irma passed the island to the north, it seemed to be somewhat safe, but now after Maria, news outlets are reporting that 100% of the power has been knocked out. Puerto Ricans might not get power back for four to six months, said Ricardo Ramos, the CEO of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. "The system has been basically destroyed," Ramos told CNN.

Following are a few images from St. Thomas and the beginning or restoration and rebuilding. But it will be a long road for residents in the Caribbean.

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