St. John Irma Relief Update 9.11.17

Residents of St. John – on island and off – continue their massive community effort of pulling together to save, feed and shelter one another in classic Love City spirit but say they still desperately need help from the federal government for security, food, water, gas, medicine, equipment and more.

 

Virgin Islands Relief donations to St. John

Virgin Islands Relief donation center based in Philadelphia – containers will arrive on St. John in two weeks.

So many reports coming out of St. John. So very quickly. We’re with you all on this roller coaster of emotions – fear, hope, joy, despair, confusion…repeat.

We are doing our best to filter through the information to provide you with vetted, locally-sourced information and even moreso – to keep you filled in on how you can help right now. One thing is for sure: the St. John community on island and around the world is an inspiring thing of beauty.

Today we have been on the phone with Celia Kalousek from the St. John Community Foundation, Jesse Vann of Virgin Islands Relief and Jessica Huaman from FEMA. Celia has been in contact with Sharon Coldren of the Coral Bay Community Council and those updates are included in the following:

Here’s what we know for sure as of 5:30pm EST, 9/11:

Let’s get the Bad News outta the way:

 

“There is looting. But no horror stories.” – Sharon Caldron, Coral Bay Community Council

  • As happens after any major catastrophe that demolishes government infrastructure— criminal activity is happening. It is SCARY and DISHEARTENING and TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. But also, not altogether surprising. The report from Sharon of CBCC today was that security is indeed an issue.
    How you can help:

    • Continue pressuring government officials to prioritize St. John’s desperate need for government aid and disaster relief support. ST. JOHN NEEDS MORE HELP NOW.
    • Connect mainland media to people who have evacuated St. John already and are able to talk about their experience.
    • As communications improve on STJ, connect the media to people still on the island who can talk about the current state of affairs.
    • If you have contact with your loved ones on St. John, tell them that their message is being heard. Help is arriving today and much more is on the way.

 

And the Good News. Fortunately, there’s way more of it:

 

There are many many heroes doing many many things. We will rebuild this island. We are rebuilding it now. – Jesse Vann, Virgin Islands Relief

SECURITY

  • More National Guard troops arrived on island this morning. There are now reports coming out of Coral Bay that the National Guard has been spotted there as of today.
  • Territory Police Captain McFarlande from St. Croix is on St. John and brought 18 additional police officers with him. They will be strictly enforcing the island-wide curfew.
  • Two law enforcement officers are required for donation drops. Our volunteer coordinator in Cruz Bay reports that to her knowledge, this is happening as required.
  • The Navy is on island to help with security and debris clearing. (See photo below.)
  • Our FEMA contacts are working with volunteers and coordinators to provide more security in addition to support in distributing donations that will start arriving on island in the days, weeks and months to come.

FOOD

  • The St. John Community Foundation is working with the Red Cross to certify the four functioning restaurants in Cruz Bay to provide 4000 meals daily.
  • Efforts are being made to coordinate a helicopter drop of food on the Coral Bay ball field. This may have already even happened.
  • Cruz Bay Landing was able to feed about 700 people this morning. They’ve fed thousands so far. All free. They can continue to feed more people as long as they are able to get more diesel.
  • Sharky at Restaurant 420 has served thousands of meals so far — all of them free. He is open 24 hours, self-staffed, and has a community message board. He is also accepting clothing donations and distributes there first, taking the rest to the JESS shelter daily.
  • Doghouse Pub served 600lbs of hamburger and 300lbs of chicken. Hundreds served and counting. All free.
  • Longboard Restaurant is serving WAPA and 1st responders first, then open to the public. All free. Served hundreds and counting.
  • JESS is feeding and sheltering people.
  • Bethany Moravian Church is also sheltering and feeding people.

POWER

  • Governor Mapp spoke directly with our lead VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) volunteer in Cruz Bay and confirmed that 60,000 gallons of diesel will be delivered to STJ today.
  • Electricity will come on in phases. The underwater lines are in good shape, so STJ may even get power before some on STT.
  • The St. John Community Foundation is Working with FEMA to get more diesel donated ASAP.

 

Navy on STJ Irma Relief

The Navy has arrived on St. John to assist in security and debris removal.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Ferry service is now operating during daylight hours only.
  • Captain Vic car barge is running during daylight hours only.

EVACUATIONS

  • A free ferry to St. Croix left the National Park dock this morning.
  • There will be 3 ferries to Puerto Rico with ground transportation to the airport (no mention of whether this is also free). More details on these ferries forthcoming.
  • Several private boats evacuated people today. These efforts will continue.

RESCUE

COMMUNICATION

  • Clint from Global Disaster Relief is bringing a Gator today which will be set-up as a mobile cell tower.
  • There may be WIFI in Coral Bay as early as tomorrow.

MEDICAL

  • Dr. DeJames at Myrah Keating Clinic reports that they are up and running. All requests he has made to the National Health Center are on the way. He said DMAT teams are on their way and everyone at the clinic is okay.
    • The only trouble is that people are running out of their prescriptions. However, Chelsea Drugs is open at the Marketplace (cash only, of course).
  • JESS reported that they need Epi-pens.

DONATIONS

  • The donation effort to Philadelphia has been massively successful. Containers will be arriving on St. John in a couple of weeks. We are working with FEMA for help with security, organization, and distribution.
  • Base operations are shifting to Florida. Large items and equipment should be sent to:

    Seaview Building Solutions
    St. John Relief
    3301 NW 22 Terr. Suite 300F
    Pompano Beach, FL 33069

    We need more planes out of Philly if anyone knows anyone with a private plane willing to help out from the Philly airport

    You can still ship to Philly, we will be there for a long time, but generators and bigger items need to go to FL.

These things reported as needed by people on St. John:

  • chainsaws
  • diesel
  • regular fuel
  • generators
  • backhoes
  • trackhoes
  • tarps
  • mosquito nettings and sprays
  • Epipens
  • flashlights
  • underwear
  • drying lines for clothes (probably clothespins too)

Please be thoughtful with the things you send. We don’t need people to clean out their closets and send all their old stuff to St. John. We already have a landfill problem here.Check here or with the Virgin Islands Relief page on what the needs actually are before sending.

St. John Hurricane Irma Global DIRT arrive

Members of the Global Disaster Immediate Relief Team arrive on St. John via helicopter

Trustworthy Facebook Pages

Facebook is where most people are spending their time posting updates and photos. This is fantastic, but can also perpetuate rumors and information can be rather scattered. The following Facebook pages are trustworthy sources of information:

St. John Irma Relief

St. John Rescue

St. John Community Foundation

Coral Bay Community Council

 

Where should I donate money?

We strongly recommend cash donations to the St. John Rescue and the St. John Community Foundation. Both of these organizations are run by people who live on St. John. They have been doing good on the island for years. We trust them and implore you to donate to these established, local organizations.

St. John Rescue

St. John Rescue needs immediate funds to help get rescuers, supplie, and equipment to the island ASAP. They are already mobilized and on the ground and will be able to do more with more funds.

They started a Go Fund Me campaign specifically for this purpose. Some people are concerned about the 5% fee Go Fund Me takes for use of their platform. This has already been earmarked by STJ Rescue as a cost. But if you would prefer to donate directly through their website where the PayPal fee is less, we have also provided that link below.

Donate to the St. John Rescue Go Fund Me campaign here.

Donate to St. John Rescue through their website here.

Here is the latest Facebook update by St. John Rescue explaining how they’ve spent funds so far and why they need more.You can follow their page by clicking on any of the links in the post.

 

The St. John Community Foundation

The STCF needs help feeding and sheltering people in the immediate aftermath and will undoubtedly be part of the rebuilding process in the months and years to come. They are already working with the Red Cross and FEMA in these efforts.

You can donate to the St. John Community Foundation here.

And here is an exhaustive update from the St. John Community Foundation from this morning. Click to go directly to the post and follow the page for daily updates from the people coordinating the volunteer effort on the ground.

 

Major Help From Celebrity Friend

Kenny Chesney has come through for St. John in a huge way when we needed him the most. His plane was one of the first to land on St. Croix filled with Emergency Responders and supplies. He has started a campaign called Love for Love City to help with Irma Relief efforts.

If you’d like to support St. John through Kenney Chesney, here is the link to do so: https://kennychesney.com/news/448917/hurricaneirmamessage.

 

More Reading

Here are the articles we’ve written about the St. John Irma Relief efforts over the past few days if you want to get caught up or find something you missed.

Hurricane Irma Relief in the Virgin Islands: How You Can Help
How to Help Find Loved Ones in Love City

Thank you for loving Love City. You are all simply amazing. We will keep updating as our reports from the ground come in.

One thing is for sure, we will rebuild St. John. Together.

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5 Comments

Amber Brown

Great report and appreciate the facts! Sending prayers and donations to groups you recommend. Love STJ

Lisa

Thank you for the update! I am watching daily updates! My heart goes out to everyone! Great people that live on St. John! I own timeshares there so i feel like it’s my home too! I am skilled with using powertools and can certainly help clean up and build! I would love to help anyway i can! Take care St. JOHN FAMILY! XOXO

Jennifer Knowles

The Virgin Islands Relief Fund virginislandsrelief.org has a section where you can also offer volunteer service. Right now, I think this is the place to start. I also have emails into the SJCF because I believe they are collecting names too. I just want to verify where to send you. Thanks so much for having a big heart. Love City needs people like you.

Jennifer Knowles

On St.John: We are encouraging anyone who wants to come to St. John to volunteer to register at https://usvivoad.communityos.org/cms/irma then email the director of The St.John Community Foundation at celia@sjcf.org with your confirmation. We are in the process of vetting all volunteer offers and know that many aspects of this recovery will take weeks, months and even years ….and we WILL need you.

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