VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Jaine Lindo of Virginia Beach has lived in the U.S. for 10 years, but his home is the Dutch island territory of St. Maarten — 1,500 miles away.
Like so many this week, he’s felt helpless as he watched a monster of a storm barrel toward the people he loves.
“Seeing it going that way and not being able to help or do anything and they can’t evacuate like in the U.S. because it’s an island so you can’t drive up north,” Lindo says.
Several of his family members rode out the storm and sent photos of the damage.
“They went downstairs to the bathroom that’s away from the sliding doors and they had to stay in there for like three to four hours. My mother said, it was just up and down and sounded like, she said like bombs dropping outside basically because there’s roofs from other houses slamming into the house,” he says.
Military aircraft have already evacuated 1,200 U.S. citizens from St. Maarten, where multiple deaths have been reported. Lindo says he is hoping his family can get out too. For now, he’s working on a relief effort right here in Hampton Roads.
“Starting tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to be working with my job. My office manager already said that before it even hit, that she would be willing to help me organize food supplies, clothes, you know, care packages, whatever it may be…I would have rather been there and gone through it with them than be up here and just like waiting and waiting,” he said.
The Dutch Foreign Ministry said St. Maarten has suffered “little inconvenience from wind and rain that can’t be tackled with repair and clean-up operations.” Soldiers and aid workers are expected to deliver food and water this week.