Mass. native now living on St. John says island needs help after Irma

Tracking the Tropics

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – As Hurricane Irma is beginning to hit Florida it’s revealing the destruction left behind on places like the U.S. Virgin Islands. Eyewitness news is learning about some local connections to one of those islands.Crystal D’Abbraccio is safe in New Hampshire now but she’s lived on St. John for about five years. She says St. John is uninhabitable right now and her husband is still stuck on the island. He’s a teacher and wanted to stay there to help out.Boats brought up on shore leaning up near buildings, a roof torn off a public school and power poles over roadways. That’s just some of the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John.

“It looks like a bomb was dropped on the island,” D’Abbraccio told Eyewitness news over FaceTime. Crystal D’Abbraccio is a Massachusetts native. She moved to St. John about five years ago. Now she’s with her two kids safe in New Hampshire. Her husband has been on St. John since the storm struck on Wednesday and is still there now.“He’s waiting for someone to pinch him because it’s just so, it’s not real, it just doesn’t seem real,” D’Abbraccio said about some of the feelings her husband is having. They talked on the phone for the first time since the storm on Saturday. She says there’s one spot on the entire Island where he can get service. Other than that she says the small island is in dire need. No water or electricity are just the beginning of the challenges.“There’s nothing there, it’s totally demolished, there’s no way for them to get food and water, they need help,” she said.D’Abbracio says her business down there was destroyed. A community check in was started on a poster board to see who’s safe and accounted for. As for now, she doesn’t know when she’ll return back to the island with her kids.“Safety for me is number one, and right now St. John and St. Thomas is not a safe place to be for my children,” she said. D’Abbracio also doesn’t know when her husband will be able to get off the island. On the positive side she says the community of about 4,500 on St. John is strong and they’ll be able to rebuild, but they’ll just need a lot of help.

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