Former GBC clubs co-ordinator Cameron Wathey launches fundraiser after his family lost their house to Hurricane Irma
Cameron Wathey, 27, had a plan. After two years working for Student Association of George Brown College as the clubs and involvement co-ordinator, he decided it was time to go back to his home island of St. Martin in the Caribbean.
Wathey’s idea was to return this weekend and help with the family business, but his life changed completely Wednesday when the island took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma.
Considered a category five hurricane by The National Hurricane Center of The United States (NHC), Irma caused a huge catastrophe in St. Martin.
The small island is divided between a French and Dutch side and has a population of 74,208 people according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA.
In an interview to the Radio Caribbean International, the former French lawmaker, Daniel Gibbs, said that the French part of St. Martin was “95 per cent destroyed”. The Dutch side, where the Wathey family lives, was also severely damaged.
The Dialog talked with Wathey by phone Friday who said that his family is safe, but needed to move to a friend’s house.
“Our home and our business… everything is gone,” said Wathey.
While he waits anxiously to see his family again, Wathey started a GoFundMe campaign and is asking friends for donations to help his family. On the page, the he said that the money will help him “buy supplies and get home.”
“It’s a dire, dire need for help and support so I’m asking friends from George Brown, anyone who can help me, to donate and gather supplies,” Wathey told The Dialog. “I would be very grateful.”
As of this writing $2,000 has been raised of the $5,000 goal for the Wathey family.
Donations can also be made to a general fundraising campaign for the island supported by the St. Martin Tourism Bureau.
Wathey described situation on the island as chaotic. Supermarkets, drugstores and banks are all closed. The island is in a state of emergency and the only water and food are coming from the military.
Worried about the possibility the local businesses price-gouging for basic goods, the Government of Sint Maarten (Dutch name) published a list of the maximum prices allowed for hurricane items and contacts for complaints on its website.
Yesterday afternoon, the NHC published an an urgent alert about a new Hurricane, Jose, which is expected to hit St. Martin today.
Jose is a category four on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale and has considered by the Center as the third major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season.
Wathey has talked with his parents, reported information he’s learned and asked to them to prepare for Jose and try keep themselves safe and together.
“Everybody is in panic, afraid. Nobody knows what to do. I’m hopeful for my family, but I’m extremely sick to my stomach because there is limited food.”
The international airport on St Martin, Princess Juliana, had all commercial flights cancelled and is open only for military flights.