PORT MIAMI, Fla. (WSVN) – Thousands of evacuees from the U.S. Virgin Islands arrived via cruise ship to Port Miami, Friday, a week after Hurricane Irma tore through the islands.
The U.S. Virgin Islands took one of Irma’s hardest hits due to the storm’s deadly combination of winds and rising water.
For many of the evacuees, the journey back to normalcy is far from over.
“I lost everything, house, car, everything,” said an evacuee.
In the wake of the storm, many agencies, including the U.S Coast Guard have continued relief efforts on the islands by bringing in supplies and transferring evacuees to safer ground.
On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line sent one of their massive ships to St. Thomas to rescue stranded residents.
Friday morning, Norwegian Sky returned to Port Miami with thousands of evacuees from the island. Now, many of them remain unsure of what’s going to happen next.
“I’ve never been though a natural disaster like that, so I don’t really know what we’re supposed to do, where we’re going,” said evacuee Dustin Desormeaux.
“We lost our jobs and our living, so we have to kind of start over,” said evacuee Aly Meyer.
Desormeaux realized he had a ticket to nowhere after his home was destroyed on the island and his family in Texas is still dealing with the aftermath of Harvey.
“My parents lived in Beaumont, and they lost everything. I’ve been talking to my dad. They have no way to help us,” he said. “They are in the same boat as us in a lot of ways. The biggest difference being we were 3,000 miles away.”
A woman said she lost everything due to Irma, and the people she knows have also lost so much from the devastating storm.
“Texas was destroyed, but if someone could see what happened to St. Thomas, they would not say they lost anything. There’s nothing left. There’s nothing left,” she said.
For another evacuee, the storm is something she said she will never forget, but she said she is grateful to the cruise for rescuing her.
“We want to thank Norwegian for sending the cruise line here because out of the goodness in their heart — I don’t know what the arrangement was — but they treated us like favored guests and served us food, and we had A/C, and we had toilets and showers,” said evacuee Roberta Montgomery. “It was like being on vacation. It was just … I can’t thank them enough.”
Royal Caribbean also went to the islands to help with Irma relief efforts.
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