ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday September 8, 2017 – With most of the houses on Barbuda destroyed and the island described as “barely habitable” in its current state, residents of Antigua’s sister isle are being forced to move.
Government today ordered a mandatory evacuation and put provisions in place for people to be transported from Barbuda to Antigua to ride out Hurricane Jose which is now a Category 4 system that is expected to make impact in the northern Leeward Islands as early as tomorrow.
Attorney General and Minister of Public Security Steadroy Benjamin said housing will be provided for all.
However, he warned that “anyone who fails to comply with this [evacuation] order will be in breach of law and will be subject to be met with the fullest extent of the law”.
The evacuations are expected to be completed by 1:30 p.m.
Antigua and Barbuda is currently under a hurricane watch.
Barbuda felt the brunt of Hurricane Irma earlier this week, even as Antigua escaped the worst of the then Category 5 hurricane.
Barbuda was absolutly devastated by Hurricane Irma…. 90% of its structures are destroyed and 60% of the islands population is homeless… pic.twitter.com/IImZE6Wsn6
— Kendall Rae☀️ (@KendallRaeOnYT) September 7, 2017
A state of emergency was subsequently declared. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said about 95 percent buildings were damaged and 60 per cent of the island’s residents were homeless.
A two-year-old in Barbuda was the first of Hurricane Irma’s victims. In the wake of the hurricane, more than a dozen people have so far died.
To assist Barbuda, Venezuela is sending over 10 tonnes of supplies – including more than 100 cases of medicine, 200 pairs of boots and 1200 cases of water – as well as rescue personnel.