Not a Single Living Person Left on Barbuda

Venezuelan Military Aircraft loading supplies at the Hewanorra International Airport

Venezuelan Military Aircraft loading supplies at the Hewanorra International Airport

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. "Hurricane Irma was the most ferocious, cruel and merciless storm".

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.

"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". Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands were also seriously damaged by the storm, which then moved up the length of Florida.

LaRocque said that given the scale of the destruction, countries and institutions in the worldwide community must be willing to build on the current relief efforts by the Caribbean Community and he said invitations are already being sent to development partners for the soon to be convened Donors Conference. He hasn't been able to go back home to look for them.

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

In Antigua and Barbuda, Samaritan's Purse conducted ground assessments (specifically on Barbuda) and is now coordinating with government officials to prepare for the distribution of emergency relief supplies. He has a personal connection to these people. He explained that the country has a US$1 billion economy but is facing a rebuilding cost of in excess of US$250 million.

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

"We are a Caribbean company and these are our people".

CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque on Wednesday toured several hurricane- devastated islands and said an global donors conference will be convened to mobilise the "significant resources" required for the recovery effort. The Antiguans were remarkably open-hearted and welcoming. He urged as many countries as possible to help restore the life of Barbuda. He says he believes the country can use all the help it can get.

The fourth lesson is that building codes and standards have to be dramatically improved. The green vegetation could have been ripped away by the storm's winds, showing more bare ground on the satellite images.

The rebuilding effort, however, is a "mammoth task", Sanders said. "We can not cope with our own resources alone". PRI quoted Browne as saying the result of the storm is a "national disaster of epic proportions" and that Barbuda needs outside help. The views expressed are his own.

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