After Irma, the Island of Barbuda Remains Deserted

18 September, 2017, 01:21 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • After Irma, the Island of Barbuda Remains Deserted

Joe English, a Unicef communications manager, has been helping with the relief effort in the Caribbean islands.

The lesser-known twin island of Antigua, Barbuda lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

The Ambassador to the U.S. for both islands, Ronald Sanders, told USA Today: 'There's not a single living person on the island of Barbuda - a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished'.

"The damage is complete", said Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the United States, during "The Takeaway" radio show.

The statement may not be completely accurate. Three people were killed in the storm and roughly 60 percent of the population was made homeless.

All of Barbuda's 1,800 residents have been evacuated and more than 95 per cent of its structures have been damaged after the ferocious storm hit its shores last week. "We're going to have to keep this going for sometime because Barbuda's not going to be rebuilt in a hurry, and when we do rebuild it, we're going to have to rebuild to massive hurricane standards".

Evacuees from Barbuda were sent to Antigua, which did not suffer the same level of damage from Irma.

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"This was a huge monster", Sanders said.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne called it "just miraculous" that only one person died due to the disaster.

"In the days following Hurricane Irma, there was a strong possibility that Hurricane Jose, a category four Hurricane which looked likely to follow Irma's path, could have hit the already-devastated island".

Rebuilding in such a manner would cost over $200 million, he said.

"We are a small island community - the gross domestic product of Antigua is $US1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year", Sanders explained. He said their government simply can not afford it. Browne went on to say that they hope worldwide partners and friendly governments will come forward to assist the island.

"We have private friends who are wealthy, we have contacts with certain leaders throughout the world, and we will utilize those connections to raise resources", he said.

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