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techkenyot.com September 22, 2017


Hurricane Irma Response - Situation Report #2

17 September 2017, 03:22 | Glen Norman

Venezuelan Military Aircraft loading supplies at the Hewanorra International Airport

Venezuelan Military Aircraft loading supplies at the Hewanorra International Airport

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.

That's how residents of the Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda describe deadly Hurricane Irma that ripped through their small country last week.

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Since last Monday, Sandals Foundation has been providing first-response relief of food to people housed in shelters in Turks and Caicos, while simultaneously promoting its global online fund-raising drive through its website sandalsfoundation.org to collect donations for ongoing disaster relief work in Turks and Caicos, Antigua and Barbuda, and The Bahamas. "For the first time in 300 years, there's not a single living person on the island of Barbuda-a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished", he said. His leadership, they say, was "inspirational". The extent of the damage is beyond the means of these islands.

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Pets and livestock also have been left to fend for themselves on the wind-swept island.

Barbuda today appears "like a winter scene without snow", Sanders said. A group of Barbudans who oppose the island's governing party vocally opposed the plan.

"We'll put it into something that really helps people and we'll be working with Bishop Browne who's on the ground and knows what's going on and what the needs are and how soon they can get back to the island".

Antigua fared far better during the storm, and fortunately, Sanders said, the government had supplies brought in from the US mainland before Irma arrived. Their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is low, it means they don't have a lot of money to deal with it.

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"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".

In future, all Caribbean countries have to cater for a humanitarian crisis. Therefore, preparations will have to include stockpiling food, water, medicines and other essentials long before storms arrive on their shores.

As it is, the government of Antigua and Barbuda is facing a bill upwards of US$250 million to rebuild Barbuda, but it is a US$1 billion economy.

Barbuda residents, however, still have no idea when they will be able to take the short ferry ride home. The release said that Browne confirmed that all Barbuda residents have been relocated to Antigua, with just a contingent of military personnel remaining to provide security. The views expressed are his own.

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