Hurricanes Irma and Maria Affecting Those Close to Home

The aftermath of the string of hurricanes in the Caribbean is still affecting millions of people.

Mount student, Luis Turbyfield, class of 2019, is from Turks and Caicos. His family is still without power, now three weeks after Hurricane Irma hit. Although he has no power, he is grateful that no major damage was done to his house despite some leaking.

His mom and little brother flew to the U.S. as soon as they could, while his dad stayed behind the whole time. Turbyfield hopes they will all get to go back home for Fall break, and that the power will be turned on by then. “There is power everywhere else, but my house still doesn’t have power.”

Irma did the most damage to the islands that make up Turks and Caicos. Poles, trees, and debris are scattered everywhere. He knows people who have lost their homes.

However, Maria hit them as well. Turbyfield commented, “Maria did more damage than it would have if Irma had not come first.” After the first hurricane, the airport was flooded. The Canadian government sent help to the islands and so did the British marines.

Turbyfield first reached out to Bob Brennan and Maureen Plant to help set up some relief efforts. They organized a drive asking for donations, specifically clothes and diapers. Turbyfield is a part of the Men’s Rugby team, so team members and the administration organized the drive together. Over Parent’s Weekend, they collected over 1,000 pounds worth of donations. Turbyfield commented about the drive saying, “I wasn’t expecting us to have this much stuff.”

He added, “I think it [the drive] was great. I was really happy that Bob and Maureen could get in touch with parents and alumni.”

The Mount was working with the local Catholic church that Turbyfield goes to back home in taking the donations. Turbyfield said, “Being a Catholic university works out pretty well in working with my Catholic church.” They are also working with the Salvation army.

In addition to the Mount Rugby donation drive, the Mount has partnered with FEMA to help with hurricane efforts. They have asked for the Mount’s help with providing classroom space since FEMA ran out of space in their training facility. The Frederick campus is holding emergency management training classes for representatives from state, local, tribal and territorial governments across the country. FEMA told the Mount they would not have been able to hold their classes without using the Mount’s space.

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