UPDATE 10/31: Arnaud has been on Vieques for two weeks now and has been working away at the most urgent issues, such as repairing our generators, getting the sailboat out of the hurricane hole (to prevent it from being plundered as sadly has happened to some other boats), thoroughly cleaning the house, yard and shop to address water damage, taking stock of everything destroyed or damaged and preparing our belongings for our extended absence. He’s been helping and receiving help from others. He has been able to employ some people to help with the hard work and share some of the supplies we’ve been able to purchase with your donations. He’s also been enjoying the food we sent with him and has been able to give away his allocation of army-supplied MREs, which I kid you not, stands for ‘Meal, Ready to Eat’. Support from the outside has been sporadic and erratic. Some people on Vieques have not had any water since the storm and some whose cisterns are too far from the road cannot be supplied by the water truck that occasionally makes the rounds. The supermarkets do get stocked, but supplies arrive in small numbers and are instantly sold out. It is not unusual to sit in line for gas for six or more hours. Google has teemed up with AT&T to supply a trickle of Internet service to some areas of the island. Another group has set up limited but much appreciated Wifi service at the town plaza. Claro cell phone service is being shared across providers and allows for pretty steady text messaging and even the occasional phone call! I am sitting in Germany trying to rustle up more work and failing at adjusting to the increasing cold unlike our dog, Muppet, who even went swimming in the river a few days ago.
UPDATE 10/11: Arnaud is now on his way to Vieques with goods that will help in the still difficult conditions.
We are still looking to raise more money to be able to help others on the ground, which you can do here:
Once I have more news, I will post them here. As of yet, communications remain sporadic, but Arnaud took with him a satellite device, which should make this easier.
Unfortunately as of yet there aren’t any ways into Vieques or even reliable communication channels. So we do not know yet the extent of damage to our home or business and do not know how best to approach saving what there is to save.
Sending anything via common carriers or even travelers to Vieques is impossible as of right now, since the ferry port in Fajardo and the Vieques airport have been severely damaged.
We are hoping for Arnaud to go to Vieques as soon as possible once it is clear that he can actually get there, communicate from there and get food and supplies to do some good.
When that happens we will personally need financial support and other help in ways we might not realize yet. We will let you know how best to help then.
As for now, if you’d like to help Vieques in general, here is a fundraiser for the island established by people we trust: Gofundme :: ViequesLove