New York Medical Students Among Those Stranded In St. Maarten After Hurricane Irma

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A day after Hurricane Irma devastated St. Maarten, two medical students from the Tri-State Area were trapped among the damage.

CBS2’s Jessica Borg spoke with their relatives Saturday.

“They haven’t taken a shower in five days. They haven’t slept in a bed for five days,” Adaikamai Sivapalan said.

Her 23-year-old son, Asvin, from Glen Oaks, Queens, was one of the hundreds of students at the American University of the Caribbean who were taking shelter in campus buildings. But supplies were running low Saturday, and there was no plumbing.

“The conditions of the bathroom and toilets are getting very bad,” Sivipalan said. “It’s deteriorating.”

The island was demolished by Hurricane Irma. Most commercial flights were canceled for another six weeks.

Asvin has been texting his mother and sister, trying to stay calm with Hurricane Jose on the move. His schoolmates were in the same boat.

“Very trying. But he kept his head up,” Rudy Weber told Borg.

Weber’s son, Nicholas, is a senior at the medical school. Both families reached out to local political leaders, trying to get the American students back home.

Congressman Tom Suozzi, working with the State Department, arranged to get them flown from St. Maarten to Puerto Rico.

Weber said it’s been an emotional time.

“The school has done a gallant effort to try to get the kids out,” she said. “Were fallen on deaf ears being Dutch soil, and they weren’t allowing American military on Dutch soil. They felt they had the situation under control.”

At group of 700 students were expected to arrive in Puerto Rico late Saturday night. Families hoped to see their sons in the coming days.

“At this point, I just want to get him home and hug him,” Sivapalan said.

The families said they knew how lucky they were. The school set up an online page with updates, and some parents other said they hadn’t been able to contact their children since the hurricane hit.

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