World renowned for its pink sand beaches many miles long, Barbuda was listed in 2016 by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top ten destinations to watch.
Hurricane Irma did the same thing to the Virgin Islands, where it was also a Category 5, with winds of 185 miles per hour. Some 95 percent of buildings were damaged, as well as all critical infrastructure.
“But”, the ambassador said, “there is a natural desire by the Barbudan community to return to the island; something that is hard until basic services can be restored”.
The first modern record of Barbuda was when Christopher Columbus landed on the island on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493. “We are committed to helping Barbudans rebuild after the devastation caused by Irma, and this will be an important step forward”, said Vanessa Slowey, CEO of Digicel, Caribbean and Central America.
The statement may not be completely accurate.
Those who rode out the storm were subsequently evacuated to Antigua where the storm’s damage was less catastrophic.
In the meantime, CDEMA has been facilitating much of the regional collaboration through a hub in Antigua for the affected Eastern Caribbean islands, and one in Jamaica for the Western Caribbean, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, Haiti and The Bahamas.
Despite the destruction, most residents made it through the storm. PRI quoted Browne as saying the result of the storm is a “national disaster of epic proportions” and that Barbuda needs outside help.
Donor countries made the point that in order for Barbuda to face up to future storms of this kind, it would have to be rebuilt differently and to higher standards that could resist hurricanes.
Not only does the island need to rebuild the homes and infrastructure, it wants to rebuild them to withstand hurricanes stronger than Irma. He explained that the country has a US$1 billion economy but is facing a rebuilding cost of in excess of US$250 million.
Mitchell acknowledged “the extremely high level of devastation” in these and the other affected islands, and said substantial worldwide support is required to build on the ongoing financial and other contributions by Caribbean governments, individuals and organisations. “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”.
Georgetown, Sep 13 (Prensa Latina) Heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in a special session to learn about the effects of Hurricane Irma and Jose in the region, Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque said here today.
“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.