St. Maarten: Impact Hurricane Irma on Nature

What started out a week prior as a low pressure system off the Cape Verde Islands ended up as the first ever category 5+ hurricane to hit the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands mostly due to warming ocean temperatures. Hurricane Irma was so powerful that it devastated several islands in the north-eastern Caribbean. The Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Maarten was not spared and sustained catastrophic damage. On the morning of September 6th, Irma struck the island with so much power that more than 90% of the buildings are damaged, many houses lost their roof and infrastructure is significantly damaged, resulting in much of the population becoming homeless and without basic needs. Nature Foundation St. Maarten (NFSXM) has assisted with water and food distributions, cleaning up beaches and water bodies, and has focused on assessing the extent of damage the 185 MPH winds, large waves and strong surge caused to the island’s nature. The first terrestrial and marine assessments took place from September 12th to 16th, and from September 22nd to the 25th. They were carried out quickly to get a first overview of the damage – further, more in-depth assessments are continuously going on. 


This news-item was published in BioNews 7-2017

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