Civilization on Barbuda has been 'extinguished' by Irma


About a week ago, one of the strongest hurricanes in recent decades, "Irma", passed through the Caribbean, causing serious damage to several islands.

In his message dated Wednesday, Li expressed profound condolences to the victims of Hurricane Irma and extended honest sympathy to the injured and the bereaved families.

Barbuda and Antigua prime minister Gaston Browne implemented a mandatory evacuation order on September 8, to ensure every single resident was moved to safety.

While Antigua was mostly spared from the hurricane, some 95 per cent of Barbuda's buildings were damaged or destroyed, forcing its 1,600-plus residents to flee for shelters on Antigua, less than 50 kilometres away.

"The damage is complete", says Ambassador Ronald Sanders, who has served as Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the US since 2015. The government has since evacuated all 1,800 residents to Antigua (which suffered no major damage).

"We're told that they want a proper assessment done of the island", said Travis Harvey from AeroVision.

But now for the first time in 300 years the country is completely empty.

The brothers transported slaves to Barbuda to work on sugarcane plantations in Antigua, and as numbers of slaves grew, the island became a significant exporter of slaves in the region. Plus that is where all of their possessions are.

The Go Fund Me campaign Tyrell started raised more than $3,000 in the first few days; enough to buy supplies and convinced the government to allow access to the island.

Residents of St. John's, Antigua, said that they want people to know that their island is still open for business, hoping that tourism money, as well as global aid, will help pay for reconstruction on neighbouring Barbuda. This is going to take a while.

The rebuilding effort, however, is a "mammoth task", Sanders said.

The key to rebuilding is to make sure all of the structures, "can withstand hurricane forces of the kind and magnitude we've seen because we believe climate change is here to stay", Sanders said.

Mentioning that Barbuda has world-class beaches with pink sand and crystal clear water, he said the island is lovely for tourism.