Friends and family of four Black women currently stranded in St. Maarten following the devastation of Hurricane Irma are using social media to try help get them evacuated off the island.
Their call for help comes just as a second deadly hurricane, Jose, is also bound for the island.
New Yorker Tiffany Bender and three of her friends were staying at an Airbnb whose roof fell in as Irma hit. She told her CBS News that her Airbnb hosts “told us to cross our fingers when we asked her about the best practices for the storm.” The ladies had been on the vacation to celebrate a decade of friendship.
And with 95 percent of island destroyed, as per an official, the likelihood of looting and assault is high. The women are currently seeking refuge at the American University of the Caribbean where they have been allowed to stay for one night.
Using the #SaveMaarten hashtag, Bender’s family is encouraging people on social media to call their elected officials to notify them about Bender, her friends, and the many other Americans who are stranded after the worst hurricane in history left unimaginable damage in the Caribbean.
They are providing phone numbers, as well as directions on how to help.
The U.S. Consulate General in Curacao told the Associated Press earlier Friday that it believes about 6,000 Americans are stranded on the island.
Bender sounded tired and became emotional when speaking with CBS News about what to expect next: “we honestly don’t know. We don’t know. We have our family back home and they’re doing what they can but we really don’t know.”
Follow the #SaveMaarten hashtag for updates and other ways to help.