South Africans on Virgin Islands appeal for help after Hurricane Irma

10 September 2017 - 18:38 By Bafana Nzimande
Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Image: Megan Grundling

Over 280 South African professionals living and working on the British Virgin Islands are appealing to the South African government for assistance after Hurricane Irma.

Megan Grundling‚ who originates from the Western Cape‚ is one of those in need of relief or evacuation assistance. Grundling is currently based in Cane Garden Bay in Tortola which was battered by strong winds.

Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Image: Megan Grundling

“The situation is really devastating. People have lost their homes. Many are still shell-shocked. There is no electricity and the roads are unusable. I am grateful that I am alive.

"I know there is a group of South Africans that are trying to get the South African government to assist us rebuild but the process seems to be slow. We urgently need help‚” said Grundling‚ who is a financial controller.

Graeme McCallum from Cape Town‚ who has been living abroad for 20 years‚ made a similar plea.

He said over 70 South Africans were still missing following the disaster. Jane Decon from the Western Cape has not heard from her son for the past four days.

Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Image: Megan Grundling

Her son Craig moved to the island two years ago due to work commitments.

“I last spoke to him on Tuesday. I’ve tried to call him but I can’t get through to him. I am told phone lines have been affected by the Hurricane. I am worried. I don’t know what to do or who to approach for assistance‚” said Decon.

Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Scenes of devastation of Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.
Image: Megan Grundling

Hurricane Irma has affected telephone lines and flight services. Casualties have been reported.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesman Clayson Monyela said the department will liaise with the British government on the matter.

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