After Hurricane Irma, satellite images indicated a widespread browning of many Caribbean islands in the storm’s destructive path. These natural-color images, captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite, show Barbuda before and after the storm. The views were acquired on 27 August 2017 and 12 September 2017. Photo: Joshua Stevens / NASA Earth Observatory

By T.J. Raphael
14 September 2017

(PRI) – Barbuda has been left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma. An estimated 95% of Barbuda’s structures are damaged, and the entire island of around 1,800 people has been evacuated.

“The damage is complete,” says Ambassador Ronald Sanders, who has served as Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the U.S. since 2015. “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.”

According to Sanders, Irma was “the most ferocious, cruel and merciless storm” in the island’s history. The hurricane was 378 miles wide when it descended on Barbuda, which is just 62 square miles.

“This was a huge monster,” he says. “The island and the people on the island had absolutely no chance.” […]

In addition to financial aid, Sanders says the global community must also stand up to climate change.

“We believe climate change is here to stay — it’s a reality, despite all of the naysayers,” he says. “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 percent of pollution of the world’s atmosphere, are the world’s greatest victims.” [more]

'For first time in 300 years, there’s not a single living person on the island of Barbuda'

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