Monday, November 6, 2017

Hurricane Irma’s Toll on the Caribbean

Hurricane Irma’s Toll on the Caribbean
Kat Van Hulle
Nearly two months since Hurricane Irma hit, the Caribbean islands are still grappling with how to begin rebuilding their communities. The hurricanes not only stirred up high winds and major destruction, but a rush of residents leaving the islands as well. With homes, businesses and entire cities demolished by the tropical storm, many residents fled fearing that their livelihood was in danger if they stayed.
The islands are facing challenges on multiple fronts, but the most concerning being that their economy is known to be primarily based in tourist markets. The storms ripped through a region dependent on traveler demand who are now driven away by the wake of destruction left in Irma’s path. The once bustling network of caribbean hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and local businesses have come screeching to an economic halt. Tourists are absent from the tropical destinations of the islands as debris and floodwater continue to litter many areas.
Also threatening the region’s ability to rebuild could be the long run effect of all the residents who left the islands both in preparation for the storm and after it hit. Having lost their steady source of income from the tourist population, and a supply of many resident workers, it’s feared that more locals will leave the islands in search of other opportunities which would only crush the economy moreso.
In the caribbean alone, travel and tourism account for a higher portion of the GDP than in any other part of the world. Last year alone, nearly 30 million tourists visited, spending upwards of $35 billion. If the islands cannot recover after Irma, millions of jobs will be at stake and the global economy could impacted too. Time will only tell if the hard hit islands of the Atlantic will be able to regain the same flow of tourism that they once did pre-Irma.



Works Cited
Bosman, Julie. “The Storms Moved On. The Caribbean Islands Fear the Tourists Might, Too.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 23 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/23/us/tourism-hurricane-economy-caribbean-islands.html.

Carl Joseph, Megan Specia And Kirk Semple. “Caribbean Islands Battered by One Hurricane Are Bracing for the Next.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Sept. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/world/americas/caribbean-islands-hurricane-irma-st-martin-barbuda-anguilla.html.

“How Hurricane Irma will change the Caribbean.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 14 Sept. 2017, www.economist.com/news/americas/21729007-region-must-adapt-climate-change-not-simply-rebuild-how-hurricane-irma-will-change?zid=295&ah=0bca374e65f2354d553956ea65f756e0.

13 comments:

  1. Nice job Kat! After conducting some research myself, I have discovered that not only are residents in the Caribbean territories devastated by Hurricane Irma, but many of the residents are also finding themselves in darkness as the power remains out. Voices of abandonment are crying out in the Caribbean as the island residents speak with widespread scarcity and devastation; it has even adopted the nickname of "nuclear landscape". Due to this atrocity, it’s important that the U.S. and European governments respond to the disaster by sending ships with food, water, medical supplies, and aid experts to these territories. Since virtually 100% of the power infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, nearby countries cannot overlook this natural disaster, and must continue to dispatch thousands of meals and liters of water, in order to aid residents that are currently trying to survive the disastrous conditions within the Caribbean.

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  2. I agree with you that the hurricane had dire consequences on the Caribbean's tourism industry. So what about their economic growth? After doing some research, I found agriculture is another main source of income in the Caribbean. Therefore, the area now does not have a steady income through tourists or even through exports now. It appears that many resources and farms have been destroyed as well, slowing the exportation of fruits, vegetables, sugar, and other agricultural resources. As the hurricane destroyed many buildings and infrastructures, it also destroyed farm fields and crops people relied on for their source of income. Overall, the hurricane slowed the tourism industry and agricultural industry, slowing economic growth in the Caribbean. What other sources of income or industries did the hurricane slow or destroy?

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  3. The hurricane is definitely causing issues with tourism and the popularity of the Caribbean. The natural disaster is not only causing the residents to leave, destruction of buildings and the land overall but it's also causing an economic loss and decrease in profit for the Caribbean. Due to the islands being a very popular tourist attraction, the natural disaster is causing people to not want to go there and either live there or spend time on vacation there. Is the supply of their main resources that they make profit off of gone? For example, their agriculture. Are they not able to sell or produce their main source of income.

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  4. This is a really interesting topic as there is no perfect solution to fix the economy in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is caught in a stand still because they need to rebuild their hotels and franchises for tourists to come visit and for their economy to thrive, but they also need tourism money to get that rehabilitation started. It's a very interesting dilemma because while some better off countries are aiding them by shipping food, water, and other necessities, these essentials do not help the Caribbean get back on their feet and start their economy back up again.

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  5. What has the damage in these islands amounted to? Is it enough to really stop revenue to the country by that much? Although these islands were hit the hardest by this almost unparalleled hurricane, it is still possible that some of the attractions that tourists come for are not completely ruined. However, this is not very likely as the hurricane was unimaginably destructive. So what will they do in these times where a large portion of their revenue is no longer coming in? Perhaps they could rely greater on some other enterprises such as fishing which can bring large revenue shown in the case of Singapore.

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  6. It would be interesting to consider the impact of the decline in tourism in the Caribbean on other markets. For example, commercial flying might suffer a decline as well, especially as winter approaches.

    I thought Alison also brought up an great point about how agricultural production may have been impacted. Combined with the hurricanes in Florida and Texas, I would wonder if food prices from southern climates will be driven up significantly.

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  7. Even as technology becomes more prepared to respond to natural disasters, disasters like the recent hurricanes still wreak havoc on the world. As the Caribbean begins the rebuilding process, do they plan to take more measures that will stand up better to hurricanes? They are surely still at risk for hurricanes in future years? This would include infrastructure like hurricane resistant buildings. While the cost right now may be high, the long-run cost would benefit the country significantly. However, as mentioned, there are problems with funding this rebuilding. The residents and other countries that are helping out may not find it in their best interest to focus on the long-run, and would rather be concerned with just getting the economy up and running again.

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  8. It is crazy how much of an impact these natural have on the islands in the Caribbean, because it not only destroys most homes and businesses like it does in any place where a hurricane hits, but these hurricanes also kill the tourist attraction of that country, which accounts for most of its GDP. Thats why you always see these countries taking up to 20 years to rebound from these natural disasters, while more developed countries bounce back in months.

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  9. The destruction caused by Hurricane Irma shows just how important it is to have an economy not solely based on one product or service, like many countries in the Middle East are based off oil sales. When the value of those products or services go down or some sort of disaster such as a hurricane prevents a country from producing, their economy is severely crippled. However, the countries in the Caribbean are in a unique situation because of the magnitude of Irma. The hurricane destroyed the entirety of islands sometimes, so having a diverse economy would not help in this case.

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  10. these natural disasters have such an impact on the islands in the Caribbean. Not only does your average terrible things occur such as losing businesses and families losing their homes but also a large source of income for these places is the tourism and people obviously won't be able to come to these places until they are restored to their previous beauty. With such a large amount of GDP not being into play during the restoration process it in some cases takes decades to completely rebound.

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  11. As much damage as the storm caused I feel like it is a short term setback. The storm destroyed a lot of buildings and natural resources but over time the people will be able to come back and rebuild. Just because the storm destroyed a lot of things does not mean it will be ruined forever so although the short term effects will be costly, it is nothing to give up on in the future.

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  12. It's going to be a long road ahead for these nations and islands impacted by a historic spree of Hurricanes, but little will be done on our part in the US. We've already seen the reaction given by the White House to Puerto Rico, our own territory, it's highly unlikely more relief will be provided by the US. It's a shame considering what influence the US has over these struggling countries, and I wouldn't be surprised if tensions rise in the coming years between the US and neighboring countries.

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