Although the first responders with FEMA continue to be an incredible help on island, restoring and replacing the power grid, thousands of people are still being rejected by FEMA and receiving no funds to repair their homes, including my family. 2017 was a horrible year for natural disasters all over America, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, so I'm sure it's been a rough year trying to figure out where the money goes, but the reality is, with no federal funding or insurance, my family is struggling to get their home back together again before the next hurricane season, which starts June 1st and generally lasts until the end of November.
After hurricane Hugo in 1989, the house where we were living at the time was completely destroyed and we lost everything. The silver lining here is that my parents found an incredibly cheap plot of land, as the previous owner fled from the island after completely losing his home as well. Our home was designed and built from the ground up by my parents and their friends, so there is a big emotional and protective connection to our home. I am asking, on the behalf of my hardworking parents, for some help with these repairs so their home can be safe and secure again. I don't like to think of what the future hurricane season could bring, but with our unpredictable weather changes these days, I need them to be as prepared as possible.
1. Roof repairs: Our home was one of the lucky ones, with a roof that stayed on. But with 180mph winds, the roof lifted and partially detached from the foundation of the house. Now that it is no longer securely attached, next storm, they may not be so lucky.
Roof repairs will cost about $1,200
2. Window installation: The high winds, trees falling into the house, and random debris flying around, knocked 11 windows out and destroyed the protective awning over the front of the house
Window repairs: $8,000
Awning repars: $250
3. Gutter repairs: Our house is located up in the hills, which means we have no running water. The plumbing in the house is connected to two cisterns (wells). We depend on rain water being collected in the gutters around the roof to fill the cisterns. The house lost about half of the outdoor gutters so it's become very difficult to collect water for the house.
Gutter repairs: $400
4. Water damage: The winds also stripped a lot of the house's exterior paint, which allowed the heavy rains to seep into the wood foundation and into the walls and sheetrock. Our downstairs rooms flooded leaving mold and and loosening the caulking around the tiles and causing them to lift out of place. The ceiling boards also received a lot of water damage, and most of the panelings have fallen down.
Materials for wall and ceiling replacements: $500
These are the urgent things that need to be repaired. But there are so many additional damages around the house, including my dad's workshop, outdoor shower, which are both completely gone. Numerous fallen trees that have damaged the outside of the house, and the winds stripping a lot of the protective layer of paint off from the exterior of the house. The dirt road going up the hill to the house has been totally washed away and it still very hard to get up and down the hill, which will need to be repaired as well.
I want to thank you all for taking the time out to read this, and for any help you may be able to give. Please help to pass along!
Love to all
- Alex Ciliotta-Young
- Jennifer Rennels
- Marissa McCarriagher
- Nadia Ganguly
- Rhea Abramson
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