Suozzi Meets with Parents of Stranded Students on Island Destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Says "People Are Starting to Pay Attention And Are Making This A Priority."

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Congressman Suozzi in front of his Huntington office with families of stranded medical students on St. Maarten.

Photo by: Office of Congressman Tom Suozzi

Huntington, NY - September 11, 2017 - Today, Congressman Tom Suozzi (D – Long Island, Queens) met with the parents of two medical students stranded on St. Maarten due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma and the imminent danger of Hurricane Jose. Rudy Weber of Bayville and Siva Sivapalan of Floral Park each have a son at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (St. Maarten). They are living in dangerous conditions along with hundreds of other students as they wait to be rescued from the Dutch and French island. The local airport has been severely damaged, which has hampered rescue efforts. There have been reports that people are now starting to be brought off the island with the help of the Puerto Rican Air National Guard and Dutch authorities.
 
“My staff and myself have been working since last night and throughout today to try and call attention to this dire situation. The good news is that due to all of our collective efforts, including the families as well as the State Department and the Department of Defense, people are starting to pay attention and are making this a priority. However, there is so much work left to do. The bottom line is if anyone has friends or relatives being impacted by the hurricane conditions in that region, they should register their names at www.travel.state.gov to help facilitate the rescue process. With Hurricane Jose now approaching fast, our hope is to try and get these stranded students and other innocent civilians off the island and bring them home as soon as possible,” said Congressman Suozzi.
 
“There’s approximately 700 students being held up on the island, and they’ve been promised for days that they would be evacuated. It wasn’t until Congressman Suozzi stepped up to the plate that things have happened,” said Rudy Weber, whose son Nicholas is one of the stranded students on St. Maarten.
 
Suozzi has already reached out to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis, urging the U.S. government to do everything in its power to rescue those stranded.