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

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"The Digicel team is ready and able".

Hurricane Irma has completely devastated one of the two major islands making up the sovereign Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

According to the company, over 200 engineers, technicians and riggers have been mobilised across the region to undertake the required network restoration work.

Anguilla's Chief Minister Victor Banks, who joined the CARICOM Delegation on the tour of his island where the main hospital, schools and 90 percent of the homes were damaged, said he is also working to address the need for food, water, building supplies and electricity and confronting any challenges to the critical tourism sector.

Last September, Somerville, manager of the Campbell River Christian radio station and a trained pastor, travelled to Antigua and Barbuda to teach at a church there and help the country with its struggling prison system. His leadership, they say, was "inspirational". In 1666, Barbuda became a British colony and in 1685, the island was leased to brothers Christopher and John Codrington, who founded the town of Codrington - the largest settlement on the island. In those circumstances, it would have been irresponsible for any government to leave anyone on Barbuda.

Barbuda today appears "like a winter scene without snow", Sanders said. Second, Antigua is a hilly island; Barbuda is flat.

"The focus now is to help the government get people back to their homes", she said.

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Later in the day, Sanders made a presentation to an audience of US government officials and advisers, and US Congress persons and their staff at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

"I got calls from people in Campbell River asking if there was something we can do to help the hurricane victims", Somerville says.

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

That's an astronomical sum for a country with a gross domestic product of about $1 billion.

The fourth lesson is that building codes and standards have to be dramatically improved.

All eyes are now on Barbuda, with recent estimates of $50 million being reported to re-build the island. Its infrastructure is in pieces and its population of 1,800 are now homeless and scattered around a number of shelters across Antigua, which escaped the worst of the storm's impact. But they will remain there for the foreseeable future as Barbuda faces a "mammoth task" to rebuild. The government can not do it alone. PRI quoted Browne as saying the result of the storm is a "national disaster of epic proportions" and that Barbuda needs outside help. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto.

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