United States

Family Loses Everything After Being Affected by Hurricanes Irma & Maria

A family from Anguilla arrived in South Florid after making quite the journey, as they escaped from the devastation from not one, but two hurricanes: first Irma and then Maria.

The family left everything behind and are now in legal limbo.

The emotional journal for Fabrice Fontonne, his wife Sandra and their four-year-old daughter Romy began prior to Hurricane Irma.

“It was like a war,” said Fabrice, “You put a bomb and it was the same. All the houses destroyed. There was a body on the road. It’s terrible.”

The French couple and their daughter are still traumatized after surviving Hurricane Irma in Anguilla.

“We lost all our live. We lost our house, we are homeless. We have no clothing. We have nothing,” said Fabrice.

Their daughter is an American citizen, so they left everything behind evacuating in an air force plane to Puerto Rico. But as Hurricane Maria was heading their way, the family was able to fly to Ft. Lauderdale.

That’s when Goodman Jewish Family Services came in.

“We’re committed to helping the family. We’re committed to providing them with food and shelter,” said Jacob Schreiber, the CEO of Goodman Jewish Family Services. “Obviously, they’ve been through a lot. We provided gift cards and we were able to find a home for them for a month to stay in.”

The non-profit has a case manager working with the family and are paying their way until November but the family remains in limbo.

“We have nowhere to go,” said Sandra, “Two nights ago, she woke up five times crying. Mommy mommy, there is a noise, there is a noise. It’s difficult.”

The two are engineers but can’t work here as they technically arrived as tourists and were not given refugee status.

“We are not tourists,” said Fabrice, “We are not here in the United States to visit. We are here because we have no other place to move. We have no other connection. We are alone.”

The family is grateful to slowly start rebuilding their lives, but they are looking for help with immigration services or any assistance.

If you are looking to assist this family, reach out to Goodman Jewish Family Services by calling them at 954-370-2140 or visiting their website at jfsbroward.org.

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