Stranded in St. Maarten, Toronto medical student searches for food, water after Hurricane Irma, family says – Toronto

A Toronto father is worried about the fate of his daughter, who is stranded on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten in the wake of Hurricane Irma, and he’s critical of the federal government’s response to the crisis and the plight of Canadians caught in the path of the storm.  

Morvarid Sanandaji, 24, was supposed to start medical school this month in St. Maarten — her white-coat ceremony set to take place this week. But as the most powerful storm on record ever to form in the Atlantic Ocean churned toward the Dutch Caribbean island territory, it became clear the first day of school wouldn’t happen.

Morvarid Sanandaji, 24, is trapped in St. Maarten, where she’s attending medical school. (Morvarid Sanandaji/Facebook)

“She’s a very brave girl, but for the first time she said, ‘I’m scared,'” said Khashayar Sanandaji, Morvarid’s father, who spoke to CBC Toronto from his home.

Sanandaji said he and his wife haven’t slept in three days — since Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island.

While contact with their daughter has been sporadic, the family says their phone messages and emails asking for information and help from the Canadian government have gone unanswered. 

Out of frustration with Global Affairs Canada, the Sanandaji family turned to their local MP, Ali Ehsassi, to intervene. 

Ehsassi told CBC Toronto he has reached out to several consular officials, who he says will have a better sense of the situation on the island. 

“Her name has been submitted to Canadian authorities,” he said, adding he was told they will reach out to her family shortly. 

‘In search of food and water’

Hurricane Irma destroyed 60 per cent of the homes on St. Maarten after hitting the island Tuesday, according to the French interior minister. (Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry/Associated Press)

Until then, Sanandaji says his daughter has had to fend for herself. 

“Yesterday, groups of American and Canadian students roamed the neighbourhood around the campus in search of food and water,” Sanandaji said. 

“They found car keys and were able to find the car it belonged to.… They loaded the car with as much supplies that they could find from the rubble of homes destroyed to bring back to campus.”

She’s a very brave girl, but for the first time she said ‘I’m scared.’
Khashayar Sanandaji, Morvarid’s father

The students also found shampoo in one of the homes and bathed themselves in a swimming pool before…

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