As my fans will know, the Pirates of Port Royal series is set in the Caribbean of the seventeenth century. My pirates stay ashore during the well known hurricane season, and I included a storm (albeit a mild one) in The Puritan Pirate.
As the events of the 2017 hurricane season unfolded, I and my family were glued to the TV, avidly searching social media as we watched the storms meander across the sea. And hurricanes do meander. For such a frightening event, they are surprisingly slow.
At no time in recorded history have three such powerful hurricanes made landfall in such rapid succession. As the years pass and climate change worsens, they will grow in severity and travel further and further north. And they will increasingly make landfall.
Sint Maarten, Barbuda, Anguilla. St Thomas and St John. Dominica, Puerto Rico.
For once in my life, and to my family’s astonishment, my geography knowledge exceeded theirs. I knew these names, these places. Through research, I had come to know and love them. And island by island, the hurricanes proceeded to take them apart.
I have named only a few of the islands that are facing an unprecedented catastrophe, from which it will likely take years to recover. While many of these islands are territories of wealthy nations, they themselves are poor, with scarce resources and, for the most part, aging infrastructure. The press has abounded with stories of various governments’ poor responses in assisting their devastated territories. Now Oxfam, a charity with decades of experience in managing catastrophic disasters, has stepped in.
Oxfam rarely responds to humanitarian emergencies in wealthy countries. But due to government apathy, the situation in Puerto Rico worsens hour by hour. Oxfam has decided to assist in the name of human decency.
Although Puerto Rico’s situation is possibly the most desperate, Oxfam is assisting other island nations as well. If you want to help the citizens of the beautiful Caribbean islands recover from this devastating storm season, you can donate to Oxfam here.