'Unprecedented destruction': Barbuda devastated in wake of Hurricane Irma
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, September 7, 2017 7:36AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 7, 2017 7:43AM EDT
The National Weather Service said the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down as the eye passed.
Midcie Francis, spokesperson for National Office of Disaster Services for Antigua and Barbuda, says there has been massive destruction on the island of about 1,700 people.
"A significant number of the houses have been totally destroyed," said Lionel Hurst, the prime minister's chief of staff.
The strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever measured destroyed homes and flooded streets across a chain of small islands in the northern Caribbean, passing directly over Barbuda which was left largely incommunicado.
Nearly every building on Barbuda was damaged when the hurricane's core crossed almost directly over the island early Wednesday and about 60 per cent of its roughly 1,400 residents were left homeless, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told The Associated Press.
"It is just really a horrendous situation," Browne said after returning to Antigua from a plane trip to the neighbouring island.
He said roads and telecommunications systems were wrecked and recovery would take months, if not years.
A 2-year-old child was killed as a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm, Browne told the AP.
Browne paid a visit to Barbuda Island on September 6, to survey the damage left by Hurricane Irma, Storyful reported.
“The extent of the destruction in Barbuda is unprecedented,” Browne told state broadcaster ABS TV, “95 per cent of properties suffered some level of damage.”
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