One week ago, Hurricane Irma, a monstrous category 5 storm, ravished tiny Caribbean islands—leaving scores of people homeless, as they struggle to survive without essentials like food and drinkable water. Aid is finally trickling in from European governments that control the territories.
However, as The Huffington Post reported, the U.K. government received “withering criticism that it has been too slow to help British overseas territories.”
Even though they acted with a bit more urgency than the British did, France and the Netherlands have also come under criticism for dragging their feet in response to the devastation, The New York Daily News noted.
Yet, much of the latest news and images from the devastated islands focus on how some residents (Black people) are looting stores for their own gain—with little mention that many people grabbed only food and water to survive until supplies reached the islands from slow moving European governments.
According to The Daily Mail, “escaped prisoners and hundreds of looters armed with guns and knives are terrorizing hurricane-hit islands amid anarchy in the Caribbean,” which has prompted the European governments to beef up their police and military forces on their island territories to restore order and protect trapped tourists from the marauders.
Placing the needs of predominantly White tourists ahead of poor Black island residents has caused dormant racial tensions to awake, ABC News reported.
Many complained that the European governments prioritized evacuating, mainly White, tourists from the islands before Irma struck.
At the same time, leaving behind scores of elderly and other vulnerable Black residents who had no way of protecting themselves from the hurricane’s powerful winds.
ABC said France’s Representative Council of Black Associations on Monday called for a parliamentary inquiry into Paris’ evacuation plans.
“In my eyes, Irma is for the French Antilles what Hurricane Katrina was for Louisiana in the U.S. – an exposer of racial and social inequalities,” the association’s spokesman, Louis-Georges Tin, told The Associated Press, according to ABC.