Published On: Tue, Oct 3rd, 2017

Lessons from Irma

The disastrous Hurricane Irma is now almost a month behind us. Cleanup activities are still in full swing and in many – but not all – places people have access again to electricity, water and internet.

These are exactly the three services everyone was taking for granted before the hurricane destroyed our island.

During our struggles throughout the past couple of weeks we learned to manage without these basic items. We had flashlights, oil lamps and candles to help us through darkness; we found water from relief agencies, from cisterns and from the sea.

And – last but not least – for lack of internet and functioning smartphones, we got together with friends and neighbors sharing food and drink and swapping war stories. We helped those in need without asking anything in return.

Sure, bad things happened too, like large-scale looting and theft; in a way they replaced the armed robberies that remain the trademark of our local lawbreakers.

What we ought to remember – and to cherish as lessons learned from Hurricane Irma and its aftermath – is how we managed to make do with very little and how we came together as a community.

Keeping that spirit alive, also when we have once again plenty of water, electricity and internet access, will be a key asset to making the new St. Maarten stronger and better.