St. Croix and Hurricane Hugo

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St. Croix, notable for being the largest island of the U.S. Territory, received the highest caliber of damage out of any other region affected by Hurricane Hugo. Forming off the coast of West Africa a week prior to September 17, 1989, residents of the Virgin Islands braced themselves for the impending doom. With limited communications on hand, few knew of the strength this particular storm was amassing as it trekked across the Atlantic, honing in on its direct target; St. Croix. Nevertheless, citizens drew together any perishable resources they could find and barricaded their doors as best as they could in the hopes it would be just another storm. However, according to various accounts taken by journalists on the ground, the perceived threat posed by Hurricane Hugo was much greater in brevity as it made landfall on St. Croix. This event draws a clear line to the first policy recommendation; that monetary and technical resources be put into research and development to create more efficient/viable early warning systems. As documented repeatedly throughout the tumultuous events surrounding Hurricane Hugo’s landfall, citizens were kept in the dark as to truth of the storm’s strength. The only sources of news were spotty weather updates provided by local CBS news channels and local newspapers (Hell under God’s Orders, 33-37). Nonetheless, the few lucky enough to heed the news took flight on whatever commercial airline was providing transportation out of the territory. This service was only offered between 1st of September until 10th, as Henry Rohlsen Airport staff decided to shut down airline service and securitize as much of the facility as possible (Hell under God’s Orders, 33-37). HOVENSA, one of the largest oil refineries in th... ... middle of paper ... ...f the proposal would be to ensure that the Virgin Islands National Guard be given additional financial resources to upgrade existing systems and tools. These additional financial resources would come from increased local appropriations from the Virgin Islands General Fund, in addition, through increased funding from FEMA. Despite the audacious financial support granted by the Defense Department, FEMA hardly contributes to the wellbeing of the National Guard. Thus, if FEMA were to appropriate funds towards the National Guard, it would place less of a burden on them to come at the behest of some Virgin Islands catastrophe. Not to say that the proposal would do away with FEMA’s presence on the ground, rather, it would assert that the National Guard does indeed have the capability to tackle a natural disaster like Hugo if one were to ever hit the Virgin Islands again.

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