Antigua-Barbuda ambassador meets emergency agencies and major countries about Barbuda

Antigua-Barbuda ambassador meets emergency agencies and major countries about Barbuda

Antigua-Barbuda ambassador meets emergency agencies and major countries about Barbuda

Aerial photos shot immediately after Irma had leveled Barbuda on its way to Florida showed the extent of the destruction, with an estimated 95 percent of all structures on the island flattened or heavily damaged by the monstrous whirlwind.

"The Digicel team is ready and able".

While Barbuda (top) was ravaged by Hurricane Irma, Antigua was spared the brunt of the storm and left wet, but much less severely damaged.

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

The lesser-known twin island of Antigua, Barbuda lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. First, Antigua and Barbuda are separated by 30 miles.

It is a source of pride to Sanders that Antigua and Barbuda, which became independent from Britain in 1981, survived the hurricane with only one life lost, an achievement he attributes to careful planning. "We don't know what they need yet, it's too quick", Somerville says.

The images released by NASA were captured by the Landsat 8 satellite before and after the storm hit in Barbuda and Saint Barthélemy. In those circumstances, it would have been irresponsible for any government to leave anyone on Barbuda.

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That's why Sanders' said awareness is just as important as recovery.

He added that the requested support must include psychological counselling to help affected persons overcome the trauma of the hurricane Irma experience. The government of Suriname through the National Disaster Management Office is also sending four officers to St Maarten to assist in identifying Caribbean nationals who are now said to be stranded in the Dutch-speaking territory.

"We've had most of the people we've brought over to Antigua in shelters", says Sanders. Of course, others helped - initially the Red Cross and then the emergency services of a few countries and hemispheric agencies. 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.

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.

At the height of the storm, 70 percent of Puerto Rico lost power, and while the nation avoided the decimation of other islands, nearly a million residents are still without power.

The rebuilding effort, however, is a "mammoth task", Sanders said. The government can not do it alone. 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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