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Canadian crews deliver much-needed supplies to Antigua and Barbuda

17 September 2017

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda said the island of Barbuda was "totally destroyed" and the cost was estimated at billions of USA dollars.

Sanders described it as the "most ferocious, cruel and merciless storm" the island had ever experienced.

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.

The first modern record of Barbuda was when Christopher Columbus landed on the island on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493.

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

"There is no morass, there is no beach. what that means is that your wave is going to go much farther inland than before and the question of whether or not you have the sound infrastructure and an anchored foundation is going to determine how those building stand up. but more importantly, as you lose shoreline, the issue of how you are going to have to redefine your setback requirements for new investment", he said. At a public consultation on Monday evening, numerous Barbudans bristled at the notion that they won't be able to immediately move back to the island, despite officials insisting that they are attempting to prevent an outbreak of a mosquito-borne disease like Zika. Earlier this week, Antiguan and Barbudan Prime Minister Gaston Browne named the President of the islands' Humane Society, Karen Corbin, as coordinator for animal rescue operations.

Prominent resident Richard Branson is heading a "Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan" in partnership with the British Red Cross and the government of the United Kingdom to rebuild homes, restore power and get clean water and food to residents. 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. Hence, unlike the British, US and French Islands, Antigua was prepared to deal with the evacuees from Barbuda who increased Antigua's population by 3 per cent overnight with all the demand for government services that such an increase entails.

The third is readiness for dealing with a post-hurricane humanitarian crisis.

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Antigua families have also opened their homes to as many people as they can. He said the government is trying to raise money from private sources. The Antiguans were remarkably open-hearted and welcoming. But, the initial costs were borne by the government.

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

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. "We can not cope with our own resources alone". As a coral island just a few feet above sea level, Barbuda had few natural barriers to break the impact of the winds.

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Canadian crews deliver much-needed supplies to Antigua and Barbuda