Hurricane Irma has wreaked havoc on travel plans and leaves utter destruction in its wake as it surges on at Category 5 status toward Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and, by early next week, all of Florida. Irma’s effects have been deadliest on Saint Martin, the site of six fatalities; the storm has reportedly claimed a total nine lives so far.
Among the survivors is a newlywed couple who traveled to the Caribbean island for their honeymoon after getting married just last week. South Carolina natives Scott and Sarah Riggins posted a video on social media from their hotel bathroom, where they have taken shelter from winds that have reached 180 mph in some areas, shaking doors and shattering exterior windows.
“We’re tired,” Sarah says in the video. “Ready for this to be over.”
They’re not the only newlyweds hunkering down. One couple honeymooning in the Dominican Republic was sent to a shelter after being told they needed to evacuate their hotel, according to Inside Edition. When they arrived, pool area lounge chairs had been lined up as makeshift beds for those in need of a place to wait out the storm.
On the same island, Mariah and Michael Brick from the U.K. have also evacuated, taking refuge in a nearby hotel, with bottled water and no food. Their dream honeymoon has turned into a nightmare.
“[Their hotel] had a straw roof and was a very small hotel, so they have moved inland,” Mariah’s aunt, Andrea Crooks, told Norwich Evening News. “They went to another hotel which was fully booked, but they talked to this Belgian couple who said they could stay in their bathroom until they could find somewhere else.”
The families and friends of these couples wait with bated breath for updates on their safety. Meanwhile, officials in Irma’s wake are assessing the damage. In Antigua and Barbuda, 95 percent of the buildings have been damaged, according to the nation’s prime minister, Gaston Browne. He estimates the country will need $100 million to rebuild.
As this devastation barrels through the Caribbean and approaches the U.S., Texas and Louisiana residents are just beginning to pick up the pieces from Hurricane Harvey. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a $7.85 billion aid package for victims of the deadly storm.
Not letting up, Hurricane Irma stretches across 300 miles and continues to sustain winds far above the 157-mph threshold of a Category 5 storm. As it speeds toward U.S. soil, there is surely more damage to come. Those planning weddings and honeymoons in the path of Hurricane Irma are urged to heed warnings of officials announcing potentially lifesaving shelter and evacuation plans.