TUESDAY 9/12/2017 UPDATE: Hurricane Irma Response Efforts

TUESDAY 9/12/2017 UPDATE: Hurricane Irma Response Efforts
The Caribbean – Consular Updates

 

  • We extend our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and to the communities affected by Hurricane Irma.
  • The Department of State, in coordination with the Department of Defense continued air evacuation of U.S. citizens from Sint Maarten (Dutch side of the island) yesterday. Since Friday, the U.S. government has assisted the evacuation of more than 1,700 people from Sint Maarten via military aircraft to Puerto Rico.  In addition, Royal Caribbean has evacuated more than 200 U.S. citizens, from Sint Maarten via cruise ship.
  • We are continuing air evacuations from Sint Maarten today (Tuesday, September 12). Flights will be boarded on a first come, first serve basis.  S. citizens are advised to arrive at the airport as early as is safe to do so.  We discourage U.S. citizens from traveling in the dark.  All persons wishing to depart Sint Maarten should be at the airport by no later than 2:00 P.M.  U.S. citizens in Saint Martin (French-side) wishing to depart should travel to the airport in Sint Maarten as soon as possible. Flights for Wednesday, September 13, will be limited, and we do not anticipate U.S. government flights after Wednesday.
  • Bring your passport and travel documents to the airport if you have them. U.S. citizens may still proceed to the airport for processing if you no longer have your documents.
  • We are also planning evacuation flights from Tortola, British Virgin Islands (Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport/Beef Island Airport) today (Tuesday, September 12, 2017). Anyone wishing to depart should be at the airport as early as possible and no later than 2:00 P.M.
  • For all evacuation flights, passengers should expect long wait times. There is no running water at the airport and very limited shelter.  Passengers may be allowed one small carry-on bag. Medications and other essential items should be carried on your person. Bring your U.S. passport or other proof of U.S. citizenship and identity if at all possible.
  • We have more than 25 consular officers drawn from across the United States and our posts in the Caribbean now working on the ground in Sint Maarten, Tortola, and San Juan, Puerto Rico to assist evacuations.

Saint Martin/Sint Maarten Border Closing

  • Local authorities report the border crossing between Saint Martin (French side) and Sint Maarten (Dutch side) will be closed at night. S. Citizens may be prevented from crossing into Sint Maarten at night.
  • U.S. citizens in Saint Martin (French-side) wishing to depart should travel to the airport in Sint Maarten as soon as possible.

British Virgin Islands

  • We are in contact with U.S. citizens needing assistance in the British Virgin Islands. We are working through local authorities there to provide assistance and identify the quickest means to transport them to safety.
  • We are also planning evacuation flights from Tortola, British Virgin Islands (Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport/Beef Island Airport) today (Tuesday, September 12, 2017).  Anyone wishing to depart should be at the airport as early as possible and no later than 2:00 P.M.

Turks and Caicos

  • Authorities in Turks and Caicos report the airport at Providenciales has reopened to commercial flights as of 11am local time on Monday, September 11, 2017.

U.S. Embassies/Consulates Operations 

  • Our embassies in The Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Barbados – as well as the U.S. Consulate General in Curacao – are open. Because many staff from these posts are involved in Hurricane Irma relief efforts, routine consular services are limited.  
  • U.S. Embassy Havana: The area around U.S. Embassy Havana sustained major flooding.  All staff have been fully accounted for – however, the Embassy is offering emergency consular services only.  Do not attempt to come to the Embassy seeking assistance at this time. U.S. citizens in Cuba in need of assistance should contact the Embassy by telephone at (+53) 5280-5791.

U.S. Foreign Assistance

  • Disaster experts on USAID’s Hurricane Irma Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) are now on the ground in hard-hit St. Martin, Antigua and Barbuda, and The Bahamas. USAID partners are distributing critical relief supplies to affected communities across the region, and USAID is preparing to airlift additional relief items—including emergency shelter materials, blankets, hygiene kits, household items, and water purification equipment—to Antigua and The Bahamas as soon as tomorrow. USAID also requested the support of the U.S. Department of Defense for its relief efforts in St. Martin after assessments revealed that much of the island’s infrastructure has been destroyed. In support of the French and Dutch governments’ response efforts, DoD will provide airlift capacity and water treatment services on the island.
  • Barbuda—one half of the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda—is now “nearly uninhabitable” according to local authorities, who report that nearly all of the island’s infrastructure was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Disaster experts on USAID’s DART who were pre-positioned in nearby Barbados ahead of the storm began arriving in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday to conduct damage assessments and help coordinate humanitarian assistance. USAID is also supporting the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross to distributed locally-purchased relief supplies—including mattresses, hygiene kits, and clean-up kits—to approximately 1,000 people, and is preparing to airlift emergency relief supplies to the islands as soon as weather conditions allow.
    • Visit the Hurricane Irma page on State.Gov. Email us at IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov . Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.