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OH, CANADA! (How Could You?) Ottawa Tells Its Citizens To Avoid Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

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SAN JUAN — Almost six months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into several Caribbean countries, the Canadian government is warning its citizens about travel to two islands impacted by the horrific storms.

An updated travel advisory by the Government of Canada as of Friday, March 9th, warns Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution when travelling to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Canadian officials say while the situation in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan has improved, power has not yet been restored steadily and traffic could be disrupted as many traffic lights are still not operational.

The Ottawa-based government also warned Canadians to be particularly cautious when travelling to other parts of the island as there are still major disruptions to essential services such as transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency assistance and medical care.

The government is also warning Canadian travelers about the U.S. Virgin Islands, since while recovery efforts are underway, and the situation has significantly improved in St. Croix and St. Thomas, there are still some disruptions to essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency assistance and medical care.

“Exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities,” the warning update added.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria passed through the U.S. Virgin Islands as major hurricanes on September 6 and 20, 2017, respectively and swept through Puerto Rico as major hurricanes on September 6 and 19, 2017, respectively.

Each storm caused significant damage and recovery efforts are ongoing in some areas of each island group.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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