June 19, 2018

On tiny Barbuda, a 300-year-old civilization has been 'extinguished'

17 September 2017, 04:06 | Devin Moran

Barbuda needs the world's help right now

How strong was Irma? It changed the color of these islands

All of the island's residents, approximately 1,800 people, were forced to leave their homes and flee to Antigua, which remained relatively unharmed during the storm.

Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Sir Ronald Sanders, on Wednesday morning met with the Inter-American Emergency Aid Committee and representatives of major countries to discuss the impact of Hurricane Irma on Barbuda. There is no electricity and no clean water.

Speaking in Southwark on Thursday night, Commonwealth secretary general Baroness Patricia Scotland made an impassioned plea for people to work ceaselessly for the restoration of the island of Barbuda, 95 per cent devastated by Hurricane Irma. Most are now staying on Antigua.

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said the island of Barbuda was "totally destroyed" and the cost was estimated at billions of USA dollars.

Sanders says the world must step up and help Barbuda.

Sanders went on to say that Hurricane Irma was "the most ferocious, cruel and merciless storm" in the history of Barbuda and that the island and its people had no chance against such a "huge monster". Children will be attending school in Antigua for the time being.

On September 8, Browne launched a mandatory #evacuation order to move every resident to safety in Antigua, where they are living in government facilities and nursing homes under cramped conditions.

The GDP of Antigua is $1 billion per year, with the main source industry being tourism.

"While the government is doing it's very best, to cope with that situation and start a rebuilding process in Barbuda, we simply can't take on a project of that magnitude by ourselves", Sanders added. PRI quoted Browne as saying the result of the storm is a "national disaster of epic proportions" and that Barbuda needs outside help.

The island generates just $1bn (£744m) a year and Mr Sanders is hoping that other countries will provide it with money to aid reconstruction. "We are hopeful that the global community will come to our aid, not because we're begging for something we want, but because we're begging for something that is needed".

Speaking to the BBC's Laura Bicker as the evacuation got underway, Mr Browne said that a rapid recovery and rebuild operation was unlikely. "We, unfortunately, who contribute less than naught point naught percent of pollution of the world's atmosphere, are the world's greatest victims".

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