Ambassador encourages people to pay attention to Barbuda after Irma devastation

Hurricane Irma strengthens, hits Cuba on its way to Florida

Hurricane Irma strengthens, hits Cuba on its way to Florida

At a service to give thanks for the deliverance of the peoples of Antigua and Barbuda at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday evening Baroness Scotland recalled the major devastation experienced by six Commonwealth countries so far this year: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and now Barbuda.

A Canadian plane, full of supplies and volunteers, has landed in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, where a Canadian charity is helping the country rebuild after Hurricane Irma.

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

On Sept. 5 local time, Hurricane Irma hit the island of Barbuda, destroying 90 percent of buildings, cutting water and power supplies and leading to many casualties and huge property losses.

All 1800 residents living on Barbuda were forced to evacuate in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a 608-kilometre wide storm that smashed almost every structure on the island, which is only 160 square kilometres.

"The damage is complete", Ronald Sanders, who has been Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the United States since 2015, told USA Today. "We've tried to make living accommodations as good as humanly possible in these circumstances". According to Sanders, Barbuda generates annual revenues of about Dollars 1 billion, but he thinks they will not be able to recover the island. Sanders said that pre-hurricane preparation, including importing supplies from the US, helped provide for the evacuees.

"We are a small island community - the gross domestic product of Antigua is $1 billion a year", he says.

"While the government is doing it's very best, to cope with that situation and start a rebuilding process in Barbuda, we simply can't take on a project of that magnitude by ourselves", Sanders added.

Sanders told PRI the roughly estimated the cost to rebuild the island's infrastructure is US$200 million; a Canadian team that went into the island earlier this week is expected to provide more information.

Browne said the country is not eligible for some worldwide aid because it is now considered high-income.

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the Chinese government has provided humanitarian aid to Antigua and Barbuda, and launched the emergency mechanism to help with disaster relief and reconstruction after the hurricane.

In addition to financial aid, Sanders says the global community must also stand up to climate change. However, when the rebuilding is done, it must stand up to any future hurricanes, because he believes "climate change is here to stay".

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