Friday, September 8, 2017
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
NORTH American and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) president Victor Lopez was one of the first regional sporting bodies to express his concern for the sporting delegates during the passing of Hurricane Irma, not just in the Bahamas, but the Caribbean region as a whole.
“On behalf of the NACAC athletics family I want to express my deepest sympathies to the whole area/region, especially to our brothers and sisters of the Leeward Islands who suffered the worst from the passage of Hurricane Irma,” Lopez said in a press release.
“My heart and prayers go to our extended family in Anguilla, Antigua, BVI, USVI, St Martin , St Kitts and Nevis, that were hit straightforward by Irma with winds of 185mph. I have heard from some of our friends there and, although they are fine, these islands were destroyed.”
As a president of Puerto Rico, Lopez said the worst has gone by but they are getting a lot of rain which in their case is very dangerous because the flooding and mudslides can cause major damages.
“More than two million people are without power and water and they said it is going to take four to six months to fully restore those services,” he disclosed.
“The phenomenon Irma is a monster and is heading to the north of Dominican Republic and Haiti and passing over Turks and Caicos and I would like to encourage our extended family there to be careful and to stay safe.”
With the storm heading over Cuba, Lopez said he’s hoping that it weakens by the time it passes over the north coast of Havana and then The Bahamas and South Florida.
“People, if Harvey was bad, Irma is worse and right now at 6am Puerto Rico time on Thursday we are getting a lot and heavy rain, thunderstorms, a 20 to 30 mph winds and the eye of this phenomenon is already in the north of Hispaniola,” he said.
“I just want to warn everybody and express our sympathy on behalf of the entire NACAC athletics community and my family, staff and friends from here in Puerto Rico.”
As a NACAC family, Lopez said it’s important that the region be united and support each other in whatever way they can help.
“Finally, I received a lot of calls and e-mails from the IAAF Headquarters and from all parts of the world from friends and they want me to extend their concerns and best wishes to all,” he stated.
“We thank you, all of them. We will stay in touch as communication permits but be safe among your loved ones.”
So far, Hurricane Irma badly damaged St Martin French & Dutch with no communication via telephone activated and about 95 per cent of private homes and hotels affected and the airport was shut down.
In Tortola, everything was reportedly destroyed and communication lines were still down.
Virgin Gorda & Arnegarda was said to have been devastated as well as there was massive flooding.
Antigua is said to be in very good condition and they are trying to evacuate persons from Barbuda, who reportedly lost everything.
St Thomas has also suffered some damage, but the good news is that the USVI students on campus are all safe and sound.
But Anguilla and St Barths were both also severely damaged.
Lopez said he’s keeping his fingers crossed that the Bahamas will be spared the wrath of this gigantic storm.