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After Irma, the Island of Barbuda Remains Deserted
17 September 2017, 04:10 | Erica Roy
Cellphone Video of Hurricane Irma Over Turks And Caicos
"Clearly, this is a very hard time for Antigua and Barbuda and we are very appreciative of the support and, certainly, all of the pledges that will be made".
"This was a huge monster", Sanders said.
Those who rode out the storm were subsequently evacuated to Antigua where the storm's damage was less catastrophic. There is no electricity and no clean water. According to Sanders, Barbuda generates annual revenues of about United States dollars 1 billion, but he thinks they will not be able to recover the island.
Evacuees, including 500 children, were sent to Antigua, and were living in cramped government quarters and nursing homes, which Sanders said was "unacceptable".
He said that Prime Minister Gaston Browne is already engaged about the need for a careful and well documented plan for the rebuilding of Barbuda that is sustainable, viable and "bankable' to attract the necessary funding. We have a mammoth task on our hands".
"We must build properties that can withstand winds of up to 250 miles per hour", Browne said.
"We are a small island community - the gross domestic product of Antigua is $US1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year", Sanders explained.
"While the government is doing it's very best, to cope with that situation and start a rebuilding process in Barbuda, we simply can't take on a project of that magnitude by ourselves", Sanders added.
He said: "I have to tell you that we definitely can not afford it from domestic resources.We are hoping that friendly governments and worldwide partners will step up to the plate and assist us..."
Meanwhile, the Antigua and Barbuda consulate general in Miami, Florida, has set up an official warehouse to receive humanitarian/physical donations.
The island generates just $1bn (£744m) a year and Mr Sanders is hoping that other countries will provide it with money to aid reconstruction.
"We have declared a state of emergency in Barbuda because it is a complete disaster and uninhabitable", he says.
Speaking to the BBC's Laura Bicker as the evacuation got underway, Mr Browne said that a rapid recovery and rebuild operation was unlikely. "We know that these things have occurred as a result of the profligacy of the countries that are rich, and have abused the system". "We, unfortunately, who contribute less than naught-point-naught per cent of the pollution of the world's atmosphere, are the world's greatest victims".
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