Overnight on the 5th September 2017, the island of Barbuda was all but wiped out by Hurricane Irma. As the hurricane reached its near peak intensity, it was heading directly over the island with gusts of up to 250km/hr recorded.
By dawn on the 6th September, it was clear that Irma had damaged or destroyed 95% of all buildings – schools, hospitals, hotels and homes, all gone. ‘It is total devastation; the whole of Barbuda is literally rubble’ the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne announced. Estimated costs to rebuild the island’s infrastructure are reported to exceed $150 million, along with forensic analysts predicting the economic loss to date at around $120 million. Barbuda needs our support. It needs everyone’s support. It needs help and assurances from nations that funds are available and willing to be sent to form part of their future.
Individual fundraising efforts are going to make a difference as every penny is so urgently needed to help in the rebuild.
Several months on and rebuilding efforts are slow, with limited access to materials, running water and even electricity. Expensive generators are hampering progress, and with no hospital or schools, families remain on mainland Antigua whilst building firms are trying hard to make some headway.
However – Antigua is open for business
With so much beauty on the islands, famous for having a beach for every day of the year, the tourism board is the first to let us all know that of course ‘Antigua is open for business’…. With over 200 years of English connections with the islands, from 1784 when Horatio Nelson first set base in English Harbour, there are still so many attractions that still make the islands one of the top Caribbean retreats.
The more we visit the Island of Antigua the quicker Barbuda can be rebuilt.