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Plane to rescue Brazilians on Irma-hit Caribbean island

  • 11/09/2017 17h00publicação
  • Brasílialocalização
Mariana Jungmann reports from Agência Brasil*
Fab resgata brasileiros no Caribe

An airplane belonging to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will rescue Brazilian nationals on Saint Martin Island, in the CaribbeanEnilton Kirshhof/FAB

An airplane belonging to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) will rescue Brazilian nationals on Saint Martin Island, in the Caribbean, next Tuesday (Sep 12). The island was one of the most severely hit by hurricane Irma. There are a total of 32 Brazilians—30 of whom on the Dutch, two on the French side of the island, as reported by the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.

According to an official note released Sunday (10), the Brazilian government has identified another 22 Brazilians on Tortola Island and 11 on Turks and Caicos, a British domain. No airplanes can land on Tortola Airport, however, after the hurricane devastated the area.

For this reason, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry has been in contact with France, the Netherlands, and the UK in an effort to “ascertain whether a help and evacuation plan is being devised for nationals on the islands, with a view to verifying the possibility of including Brazilians in the operations.” “Indeed, some Brazilians in certain regions managed to get support and be removed from the islands thanks to the cooperation efforts of those countries,” the note reads.

None of the three islands has any consular facilities offering services to Brazilians, so dealings are being conducted by means of European embassies. Nonetheless, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry unveiled an emergency service center in Brasília and a real-time communication network with the consular posts in those countries in a bid to gather information about Brazilians affected by the disaster.

“Up to now, the service center and the stations overseas have received hundreds of calls and messages from Brazilians in the affected regions and their family and friends. Thanks to this network, communication difficulties have been solved which arose from the interruption of lines in certain regions, caused chiefly by the lack of consular posts for Brazil on the three islands,” the note adds.

Damage and deaths

Still according to data from the Foreign Ministry, the three islands have suffered “total or partial collapse in their infrastructure for transport, communication, and supply.”

In its wake through the Caribbean, hurricane Irma left at least 25 people killed, plus three in Florida on Sunday. The death toll may be higher, however, as the affected countries often face communication difficulties.

Before reaching the US and losing some of its force, the hurricane went through Cuba yesterday and brought along with it a number of strong floods in Havanna and Varadero. In Puerto Rico, where Irma was three days ago, 66% of the energy supply services has been reestablished.


*Data from Agencia EFE

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira

Edited by: Nádia Franco / José Romildo