First batch of evacuees return home from  St Maarten

DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Relief was palpable on Tuesday evening, when sixteen more nationals returned to Guyana, from storm-battered St Maarten via Trans Guyana Airways, to the Eugene F. Correira International Airport at Ogle.

Joseph Harmon, Minister of State and other officials welcoming Keith Phillips and other evacuees as they disembark the plane.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon explained the joint effort between the government, private sector and civil defense commission along with several local citizens aims to assist Guyanese in the severely damaged territories.

“We believe that anywhere Guyanese are, and anything befalls them, once it is in the power of the state to do something for them, that we will extend a welcoming arm,” Minster Harmon said.

He added that several other flights will be dispatched to other hurricane-ravaged territories to assist Guyanese who have indicated their need to return home. “…I believe we were working with 43 persons and that number rose to 116, tomorrow it will be even larger than that,” he posited.

The Correira Company was commended for its cooperation in dispatching flights to those territories.

The Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke to several of the evacuees who were visibly relieved to have returned home.

Joseph Harmon, Minister of State.

Arita Woodroffe said, she chose to return, because as a cosmetologist her operation has been severely affected due to a lack of electricity and water. Schools have also not restarted, as such, she plans to enroll her daughter in one of the local institutions.

Yashpaul Sewnarine explained that he only visited the island for tourism purposes but was unable to leave before the storm landed. He described the experience as harrowing.

“I have seen mothers looking for children, I saw persons losing their houses, friends lost their lives, so it was a rough situation over there.”

Alita Khandhai, a mother of two, explained she lived in St Maarten for seven years and while she has experienced two previous hurricanes, the recent encounter has been the worst. Her return is in the interest of her two daughters and their schooling.

Meanwhile, 55-year-old, Keith Phillips has resided on the island for 17 years and it was his first hurricane experience. “I do not want another experience like it. I am happy to be home.”

Another group of evacuees from Tortola, are expected in the country this evening.

 

By: Crystal Stoll

Yashpaul Sewnarine, Evacuee.

Arita Woodroffe, Evacuee.

 

Alita Khandhai and one of her two daughters.

 

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