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PM praises resilience as Antigua weathers Hurricane Irma

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

PM praises resilience as Antigua weathers Hurricane Irma

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Antigua was spared the worst of Hurricane Irma but the impact in sister island Barbuda has not yet been confirmed.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said Antigua weathered “the most powerful hurricane ever to storm its way through the Caribbean” with “stunning results”.

“The forecast was that Antigua would be devastated, our infrastructure demolished, people killed and our economy destroyed.

“In the light of day, the picture is very different. In Antigua, no life has been lost – all the people survived. The guests in our hotels are all well.
Even our animals were protected from this massive storm,” he said.

Browne said the airport should open by 2 p.m.

“The people of Antigua should all be very proud of the part that each of them played in our impressive story of readiness and resilience.

I dare to say that no other country in the Caribbean would have been as well prepared as we were. People heeded the warnings of my government to treat Hurricane Irma with absolute seriousness, and everyone did,” he said.

The Prime Minister said preliminary reports indicated damage to roofs to some buildings in Barbuda but he had received no reports of fatalities.

“Barbuda too benefitted from a high level of readiness, responsive to the urgings of the government and from the preparations that were made in advance, including the shelter constructed for that purpose,” he said.

Earlier, the National Office of Disaster Services said the situation in Barbuda was unknown.

“We are presently trying to re-establish communication with Barbuda to get a clearer picture of the situation there. The last communication with Barbuda was about 12:30am. Before communication was lost we got reports of several buildings having damaged roofs to include the Police Station,” the agency said.

The Barbuda Weather Station, monitored by the Met Office, recorded sustained winds of 119 mph and gusts of 150mph.

There were several reports of roof damage in Antigua,  in areas like Crosbies, Fort Road, Clare Hall, Grays Farm and Pigotts. Four roofs were completely removed.

In St George District, an access-way into Barnes Hill had to be cleared by removing a portion of a tree that fell across the road.

In Freetown and Bethesda, a few trees and telephone lines were down while a few poles and telephone wires were down in Hodges Bay.

There was a report of a roof in the road close to Sunnyside and downed trees.

There was also a report of a container fire on Friars Hill Road. The Fire Department extinguished the fire.

Police conducted rescue operations in Crosbies, Fort Road and Whenner Road. (NB)