Irma started her striptease of the house. . . The fridge doors opened, spewing out food, before the fridge took flight up into the air. It spun its way up, up and out the crack in the roof! The stove also decided to take flight.
British Virgin Islanders are so experienced with hurricanes that they are on a first name basis, Yet, no one had met a Category 5 hurricane and most woefully underestimated the brutal ferocity of Irma. A category 5 hurricane is four times as powerful as category 4. Hurricane Harvey was category 4; Hurricane Katrina was category 3.
Angela Burnett, Climate Change Officer of the British Virgin Islands government, talked with Rob about survivor stories from Hurricane Irma, the strongest hurricane ever at time of landfall in Atlantic history.
Angela interviewed 24 families and wrote up their accounts in the first person. The result is a gripping book of remarkable determination and perseverance, The Irma Diaries, Compelling Survivor Stories from the Virgin Islands.
Due to the impacts of climate change, the next hurricane to strike a community on the Atlantic Ocean is more likely to be a Category 5. Personal accounts compel us, for the love of humanity, to take on the challenge of fighting climate change wholeheartedly.
When I went outside the next day, the fire was still burning and continued to burn for 2 days. Our house wasn’t the only drastically changed thing. The whole of Carrot Bay was different, I barely recognized the community I grew up in. The road was gone, literally gone – dug out of the sea. . . I remembered the coastal defense revetment project I had just helped supervise in neighboring Cane Garden Bay, as part of a climate change adaptation project. If only we had had a similar project, Carrot Bay would have been just fine, I lamented.
As the current inhabitants and caretakers of the planet, I just hope that we all find it within ourselves to come to some consensus on making progress to ensure the survival of the planet and life on this planet – people, plants, animals, all life. We are digging our own graves. In the words of Bob Marley, it is time for us to “Wake up and live!”
To contact Angela, for more information, interactive maps and images, visit www.TheIrmaDiaries.com