Antigua back to Normal
Barbuda Relief Underway
The island of Antigua is open for business as normal activity returned after a brushing from Hurricane Irma. The V.C. Bird International Airport opened for all flights on Thursday, September 7 and electricity was restored to the Capital St Johns and most parts of the island.
Antigua, where the bulk of the tourism industry resides, is the larger and more populous of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda.
On the other hand, Barbuda and its 1,600 residents were severely impacted by the Hurricane which passed directly over the small island, resulting in one fatality. Ninety-five per cent of buildings including private properties and Government facilities were destroyed or extensively damaged. Barbuda’s hotel infrastructure was also damaged, but with less than 100 hotel rooms the overall effect on tourism as a whole is minimal.
The Country’s disaster recovery plan swung into full gear today. To speed-up the relief and rebuilding efforts, the Government declared a State of Emergency for Barbuda only and evacuated some residents on a voluntary basis. At the same time, emergency supplies of bottled water, cots, medicines have been purchased by the Government and planes chartered to fly them in the country.
The Government of Venezuela has also made two aircraft available to transport goods for Barbuda as well as a medical team of 20 doctors and nurses experienced in disasters.
Relief efforts, coordinated by the National office of Disaster Services along with the Red Cross, have started in earnest with multiple relief flights and vessels landing on Barbuda today.
Tourism Minister Asot. Michael said: “The Government will do whatever it takes in the short term to get Barbuda on its feet again. However, the best way to help our islands as we return to normal is for visitors to continue with their vacation plans or make plans to visit us soon to experience at first hand the warmth and hospitality of our people”.
Anyone wishing to immediately contribute to the relief effort can do so by sending donations to special accounts set up by the Government exclusively for the disaster relief.
Donations can be made to:
Rebuild Barbuda Appeal Fund
The High Commission is working with The Ascension Trust
Bank: Royal Bank of Scotland
Account Name: Ascension Trust (Charity #1127204)
Account No.: 10019655
Sort Code: 16-00-93
Reference: ‘Rebuild Barbuda Appeal Fund’