Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Carries Irma Evacuees to Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CBS) — Saddled with economic problems and its own damage from Hurricane Irma, Puerto Rico is taking thousands of refugees from the U.S. Virgin Islands whose homes were destroyed by the storm, with a cruise ship carrying more than 500 arriving in the U.S. territory on Thursday, Sept. 14th.

Residents and tourists from the Virgin Islands arrived on Thursday on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas cruise ship from badly damaged St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Irma skirted Puerto Rico last week, knocking out power to 70 percent of the island, damaging buildings and killing at least three people, but the destruction was not nearly as bad as elsewhere in the Caribbean.

“It was horrible,” said Bishop Jefferson as he sang “hallelujah” after getting off the ship.

The storm’s 185 mph winds hammered a string of tiny Caribbean islands that are territories of Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States. Homes, hotels, hospitals, marinas, and airports were badly damaged and the extent of the chaos seemed to catch the wealthy nations off guard.

The death toll from Irma stood at 81 on Thursday, including 38 in the United States, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands accounting for more than half of the fatalities.

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