As hurricane Irma closed in on the tiny island of St. John, Jenn Manes took to Facebook live show friends and family back home what she was facing.
Manes grew up in Milford, but fell in love with the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands several years ago and moved there to run a website about island happenings.
As Irma headed her way Wednesday, she left her home on the waters of Cruz Bay and went inland to try to ride it out. In a phone call to NBC Connecticut, she said she wasn’t sure she’d survive the storm.
“I called my parents so many times just to tell them I loved them while I still had service because I didn’t know if I’d see them again,” said Manes.
With the storm now past, gone are the beautiful island scenes that drew manes to St. John, replaced by views she calls “complete destruction.” No running water, no internet, limited food and no way on or off the island, manes is concerned about what she sees as the overlooking of Americans not living stateside in an increasingly dire situation.
“Nobody is talking about us from what we see. That’s why we’re doing such a desperate plea” she said.
While access to the island continues to be uncertain, Manes has one request for people living on the U.S. mainland, to consider residents living in the Caribbean who will need lots of help to move forward.
“We are United States citizens and we need help. Please don’t forget about us while you’re taking care of everybody else.”
Manes says she intends to remain on St. John as the island works to recover and rebuild.