PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD. (WUSA9) - Out-of-town Americans stuck in the Caribbean are questioning how well the State Department is communicating with victims.
One family in our area said they were struggling to find out a rescue plan and when to expect some help.
Mark Bost has been shooting news at WUSA for more than 30 years.
“The emotions are just as raw for me as I look through the viewfinder as the person sitting here,” Bost said.
Bost sat next to his wife, Regina, on the other side of the camera.
Their daughter, Ariel, is stuck on the Dutch side of St. Martin after Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean.
“It’s complete devastation here. Complete devastation,” Ariel Bost said.
Devastating winds and rain destroyed the buildings around her, ruining her birthday celebration.
Ariel Bost and her friend are safe despite the destruction.
“You try to be as strong as you can, but when you can't see out of your window, you can't really see anything --,” she said.
The experience left her family worried.
“People are in an era where information is at a moment’s notice,” Regina Speed-Bost said. “If you're not giving some information, it can very well be viewed as you're dropping the ball.”
The Bost family said they had not gotten direct word from the State Department about evacuations or plans for rescues despite signing up on several government websites.
However, officials did post limited information on social media.
“It seems to me there should be a protocol in place that allows you to get information on a consistent and timely basis about what the plans are so you're not left sort of in a vacuum,” Regina Speed-Bost told WUSA9.
A State Department spokesperson said they’ve rescued more than 500 Americans who were out of the country affected by Hurricane Irma – starting with those who needed doctors.
Rescues are expected to pick back up once the weather clears, and it is safe.
“When can we expect our daughter and the other US citizens that are there to be coming home?”
The State Department has not said how or if they’ve communicated with families waiting to be rescued.
They want U.S. citizens to shelter in place and stay away from airports until departure plans are confirmed.
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