Amid widespread devastation leftover from Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Virgin Islands feels left out of mainstream media coverage despite being the hardest hit by the Category 5 storm.
Over the last week, affected Caribbean islands have remained without electricity, cell-phone service and basic necessities like food and water.
“The weather channels didn’t even include us,” Laurel Brannick, a park ranger on St. John island, told the Miami-Hearld. “All they kept saying was that Irma was in the Caribbean and headed to Florida.”
But the lack of U.S. attention has left some feeling like “bastard stepchildren of America.”
“And now nobody wants to help us,” Matt Gyuraki, a 35-year-old IT specialist in St. John, told the Herald. “America wanted us at one time, but now they really don’t.”
Cuba has also been largely left out of mainstream coverage, despite potentially sparing Florida from further destruction, as the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hurricane Irma’s death toll in the Caribbean is hovering close to 40 casualties, with thousands left displaced. Aid has been slowly trickling in, and the U.S. National Guard was quick to provide hurricane relief, along with FEMA, the latter of which is said to be running out of money.
In addition, the U.S. government has reportedly been turning away non-American citizens attempting to flee the dilapidated British Virgin Islands for the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands.