St. Martin woman reunites with local family after losing everyth - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

St. Martin woman reunites with local family after losing everything to Hurricane Irma

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RICHLAND, WA - A Richland mother is reunited with her daughter after she lived through the catastrophe that is Hurricane Irma.

Exactly one week ago, Hurricane Irma devastated St. Martin, one of the Caribbean Islands in its powerful path. It took an emotional seven days for Melody Arredondo and her two young children to make it back home to the Tri-Cities.

It feels like the Camp family has been sitting and waiting for eternity. Today, they sat at the Tri-Cities airport, waiting for the arrival of Christina Camp's daughter, Melody. She was living in St. Martin when Hurricane Irma slammed into the Caribbean Islands.

"It was really rough there for a period of time when we had no communication with them," Christina said.

When Melody, her husband Hector, and two young children found out they were getting a direct hit, they evacuated to the American University of the Caribbean, where Hector is going to medical school. 

Irma made landfall on St. Martin as a Category 5 storm, causing widespread devastation.

"The whole place was beautiful twenty-four hours before, and there was nothing green at all left on the island," said Melody.

After the storm passed, it was clear that Melody's life would never be the same.

"The places I was walking through didn't seem recognizable."

Melody's home and everything inside of it is gone. She was only allowed to fill one pillowcase with everything she could for her journey back to Washington.

"My daughter, she had wanted a teddy bear that she had since she was a baby and that was left at the airport," said Melody.

She hasn't even begun the process of rebuilding her life, because she's still trying to process what exactly she and her family just lived through.

Right now, Melody's husband is still in Chicago. As for how and where he will continue his education, that's all up in the air.

The hurricane itself was a horrific thing to experience with two young children, but that wasn't even the worst part for Melody and her family. She said that after the storm, looters were armed with machetes and guns, knowing where she was sheltered had food and water.

The Dutch military had to escort Melody and her kids to the airport. They didn't even know where they were going at first. Finally, they made it back here to the Tri-Cities a week after the storm hit. They had to fly from St. Martin to Puerto Rico, to Chicago, to Seattle, and finally today they landed her with her entire Tri-Cities family waiting for her.

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