Kenny Chesney Asks for Prayers as Hurricane Irma Devastates Caribbean
Kenny Chesney is asking his huge network of fans to say prayers for everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma as the Category 5 storm continues to ravage the Caribbean and move toward Florida.
CNN reports that Hurricane Irma pounded a string of northeast Caribbean islands with torrential rain and winds of up to 180 mph on Wednesday night (Sept. 6), and at least nine people have been confirmed dead.
Chesney turned to his fans in a post to Instagram on Wednesday night, writing, "@noshoesnation, please pray for all my friends in the islands. #hurricaneirma." The superstar included a photo showing the devastation the storm has visited on his beloved home away from home.
Chesney is widely known for his love of the islands. He owns a home on St. John and spends much of his time there when he's not working. He's brought the influences of that culture into his music and videos many times, and it's an important element of the laid-back No Shoes Nation culture that brings his extremely devoted fan base back to his concerts year after year.
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Hurricane Irma lashed Barbuda, St. Martin and the British Virgin Islands, leaving a wake of massive destruction. Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda says Barbuda has been left barely inhabitable, with 95 percent its buildings damaged. Browne calls the damage "unprecedented" and "absolutely devastating," and he estimates the cost of rebuilding at around $100 million.
Chesney posted a longer statement on his official website Thursday (Sept. 7), expressing disbelief at the wreckage he was seeing, sharing more shocking photos to Twitter.
"As daylight is hitting the islands, and we’re really getting a sense of how bad this all is… I don’t know what to say," he writes. "I’ve never been in war, but the devastation, the people’s faces in a place I know by heart have left me feeling helpless. It’s total devastation."
Chesney says he hasn't yet formulated a plan, but he intends to help, and he's hoping his fans will join him.
"I want to enlist my friends to figure out the best ways to make a difference, to help in whatever ways, small or larger, that we can. I’m blessed with so many great people… We’re already talking, trying to figure out how to get in there," he states. "And I know the No Shoes Nation is mighty. They’ve dug in before and made a difference. I have a feeling once we have our plans in the place, they’ll be there again."
The singer says he'll have more to say in a few days and asks that fans continue to pray for everyone whose lives have been so impacted, reminding his fans, "Remember to Spread the Love."
Puerto Rico did not take as direct a hit from the deadly storm, but the island still got hit by strong winds and torrential rains, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without power, according to officials.
According to CNN, Hurricane Irma has maintained winds above 180 mph longer than any other storm in the history of the Atlantic basin. A hurricane warning is in effect for certain parts the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It's not yet clear if Hurricane Irma will directly make landfall on the mainland of the United States. Predictive models show that Irma could pass near Florida's east coast by late Sunday (Sept. 10), and officials are already closing schools and ordering evacuations in certain areas.
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