In September of 2017, many areas from the Barbuda island were devastated by the powerful Hurricane Irma. Irma caused destruction that was unfathomable. It left people with their homes destroyed, no electricity, no water, and unlivable conditions.
Cars were damaged, people were left stranded and worrying about loved ones and the elderly. The aftermath has left millions of people in the troubling and surrounding areas wondering what they could do to help those who went through the hit. In desperate times like these, communities truly come together to show their love and compassion for everyone around them. It is a true test of kindness and generosity.
What Happened to Barbuda Island?
Barbuda Island was one of the areas where Hurricane Irma hit the strongest. The storm hit hard the eastern Caribbean island, causing damages to around 95% of the structures. As a result, all of the residents of Barbuda Island, approximately 1.800 people, had to evacuate, some of them knowing that they have nothing to come home to.
Barbuda Island is small, having only 62 square miles. So the impact of the storm was severe. Hurricane Irma was 378 miles wide when it reached the island.
Many residents of the island have gone to Antigua, another Caribbean island, that was fortunate enough not to have damages. They were living together cramped in government buildings and nursing homes in very uncomfortable conditions. The power grid and phone lines across Barbuda Island have been completely destroyed. News sites report that one month later, the island is still completely empty.
Due to the evacuation of residents, the only population from Barbuda Island now has a number of malnourished animals. With no one to care for them, there are starving and severely dehydrated dogs, cats, horses, and goats, among other animals.
For over three weeks, there was a mandatory evacuation order in place for Barbuda Island. For over 21 days, the island was inhabitable. Residents are left with nothing to come home to, as everything they had is now completely gone. So the island faces a huge task of rebuilding, creating safe conditions for residents to return to. One death has been reported on Barbuda Island, a toddler who unfortunately drowned as a result of Hurricane Irma’s fury.
The storm left unprecedented damage to most of the island, leaving structures left without roofs, severely damages, and underwater. This is the first time in over 300 years that Barbuda Island has been completely deserted.
Worst Affected Areas
Barbuda Island was one of the areas where Hurricane Irma hit the strongest. The island was one of the first places where the powerful storm hit, and Irma unleashed its fury on the Carribean Island in full force.
With winds reaching up to 175 miles per hour, it was the worst storm that locals ever been seen over the Atlantic Ocean. The roads on the island were left in complete destruction, with over half the island being now homeless after the storm. Furthermore, the storm completely devastated Anguilla, with one resident dead, according to the news.
Impact in Numbers
- With one person losing their life, approximately 800 people now have nowhere to live, and 95% of the buildings on the island are in damage or complete destruction. So, cleanup effort should take years.
- The British government estimates that relief efforts will cost anywhere from $200 to $300 million dollars, as they need to almost completely rebuild the island.
- Neighboring islands reported the deaths of several people. St. Barts has left 9.000 people with severe damage, although the news did not report any deaths. The damage on Barbuda is above the means of the government.
What Made Barbuda Unique as a Touristic Destination?
Barbuda doesn’t offer much in the way of partying or bar life, instead, it is a unique touristic destination due to its simple way of life. The clear blue waters and white sand offer picturesque surroundings, with virtually no stress.
The island is the perfect place for those wanting to enjoy peace, quiet and tranquility. Many beaches are sprinkled with beautiful pink sand, and this unique destination is for those who are not looking for touristic attractions but instead would like to enjoy the local day to day life on the island.
The island needs to go through complete rebuilding. With no power, water, or cell phone service, the British government is looking at significant costs to cover the damage. The residents of the island currently have nowhere to call home. However, the ambassador of the island realizes that a huge challenge lies ahead, and is willing to do what it takes to make the island habitable again.
Many nations have promised to help in the rebuilding efforts. They will soon organize a conference of donors so that a concrete plan can develop. American actor Robert DeNiro has promised to help with the funding, a pledge he made to the island before the devastation of Irma hit. Many residents are taking comfort in knowing that people commit to helping.
In the End
The island of Barbuda is now in complete devastation. The government wants tourists to know that Antigua is still open to tourist business. It also encourages people to visit so that they can create revenue. Moreover, authorities will ask many countries to help fund the process of rebuilding the island. Although the government realized that they are a small island, this is not to say that the residents don’t need a place to call home.
The residents of the island and the government are planning to come together as one in order to rebuild homes, buildings, and everything that Irma completely destroyed. Within time, residents should be able to return to the island from neighboring Antigua and move on with their lives as normal.