The first photos of Vieques have emerged after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rican island

September 23, 2017 - Photo / Travel

As you know by now, Puerto Rico was recently battered by Hurricane Maria — in particular, the island of Vieques bore the brunt of the Category 5 hurricane. In some of the first photos that have come out since the hurricane made landfall a few days ago, you’ll see images giving partial-view into the wreckage and destruction that the storm caused to the island community.

My friend who has a house on the island and lives there for a part of the year, sent me some heart-breaking images of the damage and wreckage left in the violent storm’s wake. Take a look.

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Resources to Check If Someone in Vieques is Safe?

(UPDATEClick here to go to a separate post providing several more resources to locating loved ones in Vieques)

There are a few different options we’re aware of If you’re looking for an update on a loved one.

You may be able to find some information on them at https://help.stormcarib.com. As many have already done, you can also comment at the bottom of this post asking whether a particular person is safe.

You can also try to connect with those on the island via the Facebook page called Vieques Peeps. It’s a private group that you can request to join as long as you have a Facebook profile. Once you’re accepted, you can post your questions on the group’s page and hopefully connect with someone that might have news on your loved one.

Another option is this publicly-shared Google Sheet called the “Vieques Safe List” that has the first and last names of those that have been confirmed safe.

We can’t confirm the authenticity of any of the above resources, we just want to help those worried about their loved ones as much as possible.

As you can see from the image below, the popular Esperanza restaurant Bananas, was destroyed by Maria.

Kelly and Kurt Soukup are the owners of the beachfront restaurant and their family hasn’t heard from them since the storm. If you know of their whereabouts, please click here and reply to this comment from Kurt’s mother to update her on the latest.

hurricane maria damages vieques puerto rico

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Hurricane Maria photos of storm's damage to Vieques

In some areas of the island, the Category 5 hurricane swept through with 150-mile winds. Some of these first images from Vieques show significant damage to houses and the island’s infrastructure after Maria moved on. Homes that were built with wood have completely collapsed, power lines are down, and bare trees folded in half from the power of the winds.

Hurricane Maria images of storm's damage to Vieques

Hurricane Maria tropical storm's damage to Vieques community

Hurricane Maria's landfall to Vieques

The hurricane has easily caused thousands if not millions of dollars of damage to the small island community. From the looks of these photos, it doesn’t look like the intense storm spared very many on the island.

Hurricane Maria aftermath photos of storm damage to Vieques

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While the people of Puerto Rico scramble to recover from this disaster, the President of the United States made the terrible decision to tweet about the about island’s “massive debt” and how the island already owes billions “to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with.” Furthermore, Trump downplayed the damage by saying how the island was “already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt” before the hurricane hit. His tweets amount to a giant shrug of the shoulders and a “What am I supposed to do?”

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Vieques was once a U.S. Navy base and firing range. Now, much of the island is preserved as the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge home to approximately 9,000 people. Huffington Post reports that the island is devastated:

The island’s electrical grid is severely damaged… that virtually all the trees on the south side of Vieques, facing St. Croix, have been stripped bare… the older wooden homes and structures have been largely destroyed. The majestic herds of semi-wild horses that roam the island, have been devastated, as many animals died in the storm.

At the beach town of Esperanza, on the south side of Vieques, the storm hit with winds over 175 mph. The town was heavily damaged, and a 200-yard stretch to the east, connecting Esperanza to the main road has vanished, replaced by sand dunes. Other roads were being cleared.

From the International Business Times:

A video posted by news outlet WAPA-TV showed the devastation left by the hurricane. Downed trees and debris littered the island as rough surf continued to pummel the coast even after the worst of the storm passed through. Power lines whipped in the wind as residents began to survey what was left of their surroundings. Many businesses “no longer existed”’ in the wake of the hurricane, WAPA reported, noting that many residents were “crying in dismay” after they saw the damage.

hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

How to Help Vieques

Help has been slow to arrive to the tiny island as the main island (of Puerto Rico) was also hit by the hurricane, their focus is on their own efforts and recovery. So there’s not a surplus of supplies coming from the main island to the virtually-isolated Vieques. However, that hasn’t stopped some from trying. Reports have mentioned that the local airport (Airlink) is running, but not at full capacity. There’s also reports that help may be coming directly to Vieques from the U.S. mainland.

The people of Vieques are in great need and they are becoming desperate. Food and water scarcity is a major issue, and there are reports of looting and violence, which is only expected to get worse. Fuel is unavailable and drastically hampering the ability to mount search and rescue operations in the barrios, where major damage occurred. People are not able to easily get off the island, and getting relief access to the island is being hampered by difficulties with the state of mainland Puerto Rico. A terrible situation is quickly turning catastrophic, as each day passes and relief cannot be provided to the island.”  — a statement from ViequesLove, an organization aiming to help the island.

If you’re interested in helping out, you can donate to Vieques recovery effort here.

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hurricane maria hits vieques puerto rico

hurricane maria damages vieques puerto rico

My friend who sent these photos owns a home in Vieques. When were there just a few months ago in May, to celebrate his 40th birthday, he gave us a tour of his neighborhood. We had the pleasure of meeting a handful of his neighbors and visit their homes. It’s sad to think that some or all of their homes were now completely ravaged by the storm.

Hurricane Maria photos of storm's damage to Vieques

Hurricane Maria photos of storm's damage to Vieques

Hurricane Maria photos of storm's damage to Puerto Rico islands

Hurricane Maria pictures of storm's damage to Vieques

Considered a Caribbean island, Vieques is a couple hours away from the capital city of San Juan and is located on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast. After the hurricane, no one is sure what happened to the island’s popular attraction, the Bioluminescent Bay (“Mosquito Bay”), not to mention the damage to the multiple beaches. There’s been no reported deaths in Vieques, but how many of the wild horses (and wild dogs) remain?

Please read the comments below for more Vieques information and updates from our readers.

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› tags: category 5 storm / damaged / donate to vieques / gofundme / help vieques / hurricane damage / hurricane maria / natural disaster / Puerto Rico / trump / vieques / Vieques photos / viequeslove / wild horses /

Comments

  1. Jane Soukup says:

    My son and daughter in law live on Vieques. They are Kelly and Kurt Soukup, owners of Bananas. If any one has seen them please notify me. We are all very worried and have heard nothing from them. Jane Soukup

    • Kendra Wake says:

      Hi Jane,

      I found this site, and was able to get a little more info on my sister, I recommend it to see if anyone has any news…Best wishes ❤️ https://help.stormcarib.com

    • Greg Cummings says:

      Hello. My friend marc lives on the island, so I asked him if he knew anything about your family. He suggested A Facebook page called Vieques Peeps and checking/posting there. Wish I could help more

      • Greg, do you have communication with someone on Vieques? My mother Charlotte Ballard lives on a hill above Esperanza and we have not heard from her. If he knows anything about her whereabouts or can find out, please let me know at vardabarkar@gmail.com. Thank you!

        • Greg Cummings says:

          Hi Varda
          My friend isn’t currently on the island but he’s been in touch with a few people via satellite phone. I will ask him

          • Lisa Casanova says:

            My uncle Warren Casanova was born and raised on Vieques. Everyone knows him. Any change you can find out if he and his family are ok. I have not been able to get any information. lisanne10n@hotmail.com

          • Vivian garc says:

            Hi Greg I hope I am. It being too forward. My grandfather lives in vieques his name is Alberto Tapia. Maybe you friend can ask around. Thank you for any help

    • stuart says:

      Hi Jane — I’ve updated the post so that if anyone reading this post and knows the whereabouts of your son and daughter can reply here directly. Please update us once you know anything.

  2. Dan Mruniak says:

    Does anyone know anything about my son Daniel Maruniak and girlfriend Brittany Lukowsky?

  3. Laura Ellison says:

    Looking for Laura & Stu Stygles

  4. Peter says:

    Jane,

    According to this article your son and daughter in law moved off Vieques and sold Bananas years ago:

    http://www.telegram.com/article/20120823/column28/108239994

    You sure you’re not just confused?

    • Hope says:

      Hi,
      That is an old article. Kurt and Kelly are the current owners of Bananas in Vieques. They did have a restaurant in the old Crows Nest and then moved back to MA but that was years ago. People are frightened and to ask if a missing person’s mother is confused is not helping. I hope that everyone is found soon. ❤❤

    • Sam says:

      Hey jerkoff,

      Did you really just ask her if she is confused?How is that possibly helpful? I can’t even believe I just read that.

  5. Pete Zacarias says:

    Does anyone know Aida Hernandez and Yito Monell? They live in Pozo Prieto. I have been trying to contact her to see if she is doing ok. Any information would be greatly appreciated

    • Wanda Monell says:

      Aida y Yito mi hermano estan como todos en Vieques sin luz sin agua sin comunicacion y sin alimentos pues no tienen estufa es electrica y solo cocinan lo que pueden y cuando tienen en un fogon de emergencia.Estan en unas condiciones bien dificiles.

  6. Dianne Soldevilla says:

    GLAD TO SEE YOU JANE, PLEASE HELP FIND SHIRLEY JACKSON AGE 74, SHORT BLOND WOMAN ABOUT 5′ TALL LAST SEEN WITH SAILBOAT TOUR CAPTAIN BILL BARTON, SHIRLEY LEFT HER VOLUNTEER MONTH WITH REDCROSS IN HOUSTON TO SECURE HER HOME IN VIEQUES. SHIRLEY MAY BE FOUND HELPING OTHERS.

  7. SARA L CLARK says:

    I hope everyone finds their people! <3

  8. Wilma Castro says:

    Need to know the whereabouts of family in Minte Santo – Vieques. Names are
    David Castro and family . Mother in law Chong (Maria) Castro . Please let us know anything. Greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.

  9. karen caravello says:

    Looking to hear from sister Nicole Olivelli and brother in law Les Jones…former owners Sol Food.
    much appreciation

  10. Andres says:

    Kurt and Kelly are fine. We are their next door neighbors Andres & Zoe. I have personaly seing them evrey day since the storm. Only problem in Vieques right now is lack of comunications connection. We could come to the big island today by ferry (first one since Maria) mainly to meet and tell our loved ones we are ok. No casualties reported and everyone helping each other. Things are slowly coming together. Ms Soukup, Kurt and Kelly are two very hardworking and wonderfull couple. You must feel very proud of them.

    • Joseph Cardyn says:

      I remember hanging out everyday as a child with my parents at Bananas. It’s heartbreaking to see what has happened to the island. These images bring back old memories from when Hugo hit us. God Bless!!!

  11. Maria Castillo says:

    My Brother Jorge Castillo, Owner of the Crystal Dolphin on the Malecon, in Esperanzas.. We have not heard from him and his wife Ada Castro. Our family is vary worried… Let us know is if they have been seen or heard from.
    Thanks, His sister Maria

  12. Yolanda Bermudez says:

    My cousin Chester (Butchie) lives in Viequez. His house is in the Pueblo. Has anyone here from him. I would like to know if he’s OK.

  13. Margie Aviles says:

    Looking to know if Angel David Morales and his family are okay.

  14. Kathleen Kienitz says:

    I’m wondering how the horses fared

  15. .luis e aloyo says:

    i want yo know about my family , my brother work by the mayor, modesto aloyo.

  16. CARMEN PACHECO says:

    Need status of my parents CRUZ GARCIA, EDDIE RIVERA, NAURI, VICTOR GARCIA Y LUZ COLON

  17. Lisa Casanova says:

    Need status of my uncle Warren Casanova and his family on Vieques and Willie Casanova on the mainland.

  18. Antonio Lopez says:

    Trying to find out if my father in law is okay
    His name is Joaquin Ayala

  19. ALONSO SIEGAL says:

    PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF ROBERTO RABIN
    SIEGAL IS SAFE AS WELL AS HIS PARTNER
    ON THE ISLAND OF VIEQUES.

  20. Karlyn Kieffer says:

    Looking for Hector and PJ Horta. Their family runs Hortas. Edgardo and Myra who work at the W Hotel, Joel who owns Mama Mia in Isabel II. If you’ve seen any of them, please let us know if they’re ok. We don’t personally know the owners of Bili, El Quenepo, Noche, or Next Course, but have eaten in all of those places dozens of times on our trips to the island, we hope the owners and all employees are ok, especially after seeing the damage to Bananas. God bless them all!

  21. […] The first photos of Vieques have emerged after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rican island 5,401 views […]

  22. kathy jones says:

    my son and daughter in law live in vieques. I have not heard anything since tues. morning before the power was cut off.. if you know them or their whereabouts please let me know..it is Les Jones and Nicole Olivelli. former owners of Sol Food near the nature preserve.Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

    • Antonio Lopez says:

      Hey Everyone ,,,I’m looking to find out all information I can on Joaquin Ayala my father in law that lives on Vieques. I’m posting my email in hopes with whatever I have found relating to communication can also share amongst you all. As we all know for those that live in vieques it’s hard to give an exact address.But the Island is small and everyone basically knows each other.

  23. Sue Wilson says:

    I am looking for my brother, Bill Meacham, who lives at 325 Tintillos in Esperanza. Bill is ham radio operator KP4SX.

  24. Teri Beck says:

    Any news on the Sea Gate Hotel and its owners?

  25. Anny says:

    Hi,
    I am looking for Christina Dixon, she works at el Quenepo and that’s were she stay as the storm came through. Can some one please if you know her, and anyone has a phone please tell her call home or if you can please send me email that she is fine. Thank you

  26. Emma says:

    My name is Emma Robinson.
    I’m looking for information on my Dad Francisco Robinson from Monte Carmelo.

  27. Cher Craig says:

    I’m looking for Brian Hatcher or Tile Brian, some people know him as Tile Brian. He’s my brother. I haven’t heard anything from him. We love him so much and it’s hard to even sleep thinking he may be hurt. Please let me know if you know anything.
    We are praying for all of you and the families we know what you are going thru. It is gut renching.

  28. Kathy zanardelli says:

    Looking for dottti griffin and genovea martinez. Contact your family when possibl please.

  29. Evelyne Martial says:

    Looking for Eliseo Perez, my uncle in Vieques. Please contact us. Bibi will be in New York tomorrow, Thursday, October 5. Please call us.

  30. Evelyne Martial says:

    Eliseo Perez, please call us on Friday morning. Bibi arrives late on Thursday, October 5. Call us on Friday morning in New York. Please call on Friday morning. We hope you are okay.

  31. Eva Martial says:

    I am asking anyone please information about my uncle who lives in Vieques. His name is Eliseo Perez. He is a diabetic and may need medical attention without his insulin His wife is desperately trying to fly out to P.R. Please help us to reach him. My deepest appreciation. Eva

  32. Tambudzai Blake says:

    I am asking anyone for information regarding my cousins, Robert and Nicholas Marino. They live in Vieques on Flamboyan in Esperanza Beach.

    We are desperate to hear something.

    Thank you.

  33. Kendra Wake says:

    The following link has been established for the sole purpose of helping to raise funds so that people can afford to get off the rock, and get their loved ones to safety. Please read and share this link where appropriate. Thank You!!

    https://www.youcaring.com/kristinmcclendonsfriendsinneedinvieques-966263

  34. […] The first photos of Vieques have emerged after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rican island 115 views […]

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