Hurricane Irma's Aftermath - Destroys Entire Island, No Single Person Living On Barbuda

Debris after Hurricane Irma

Debris after Hurricane Irma

As Terry Somerville, from his 88.7 Spirit FM studio, watches video clips of the devastation, he admits it's hard to watch. His presence on Barbuda and the fact that he could personally give comfort and hope to the traumatised, bewildered and desperate people was decisive and invaluable.

He connected with and became good friends with Bishop Charlesworth Browne, pastor of the country's Christian Ministries Centre.

He quickly promised to help rebuild Barbuda after 95% of the buildings on the island were damaged. According to assessments, the most urgent needs for islanders are food, water, and shelter.

So the charitable organization behind Spirit FM, Total Change Ministries, chose to take action.

He stressed that even these basic services have a high cost that is beyond the resources of the government of Antigua and Barbuda alone.

Somerville says that miraculously, Antigua was largely spared, suffering some heavy winds but getting back to normal within 24 hours. Sanders said that pre-hurricane preparation, including importing supplies from the USA, helped provide for the evacuees. "We're going to have to keep this going for sometime because Barbuda's not going to be rebuilt in a hurry, and when we do rebuild it, we're going to have to rebuild to massive hurricane standards".

"In the case of Barbuda, [where 99 per cent of the island was decimated]. there will have to be changes in how Barbuda is reconstructed", Jackson told reporters at a news conference here this afternoon, while stressing that "there are coastal issues facing that country". His leadership, they say, was "inspirational". "It could be clothes, they've lost everything".

Mr. McCleary Fredrick, Director of Hazard Management Cayman Islands has also been sent to Anguilla for two weeks to provide expertise along with the Anguillan disaster management team.

Before and after satellite images shows damage from Irma on the island of Barbuda.

"The plan is to organise a regional and global aid conference that can help to get significant pledges towards the reconstruction effort of these countries".

CNN quoted Sanders as saying Barbuda relies on tourism to survive, but in the meantime Antigua is still available for tourism. "That's my concern, that it will tend to be forgotten".

"We are a small island community - the gross domestic product of Antigua is $US1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year", Sanders explained. They see no white people, or black people or any shade of colour in between.

"It is an out of the way island, it's relatively unknown and they don't have a great means to re-build", Somerville adds.

Donations can be made directly to Total Change Ministries via cheque with a note on it for hurricane relief mailed to: 100 Jones Rd., Campbell River, B.C., V9W 2V1.

Pets and livestock also have been left to fend for themselves on the wind-swept island. The devastation caused by Hurricane Irma helps us acknowledge how precious life is and it can also help us better demonstrate to our self and others an appreciation for this lovely, fantastic and challenging life we have.

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