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article image'Total devastation' as Irma hits Caribbean island Barbuda

By AFP     Sep 6, 2017 in Environment

Hurricane Irma killed one person and left behind "total devastation" as the monster storm smashed into the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda on Wednesday, the prime minister said.

"It is just total devastation, Barbuda now is literally rubble," Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in the aftermath of the Category Five storm.

Speaking later on CNN, Browne said 95 percent of properties in Barbuda were damaged, with up to 30 percent demolished.

"It is absolutely heart-wrenching," he said.

One person is known to have died, Browne said, apparently to be child whose mother was taking him or her to safety after the building they were in was damaged.

The airport was damaged and flights were unable to land. Badly-needed aid will have to be flown in by helicopter from Antigua, he added.

"We have estimated the rebuilding efforts to be no less than $100 million. That is conservative, because we're talking about rebuilding everything, all of the institutions, the infrastructure, the telecommunications, the roads... Even the hotels on the island, those are totally demolished, as well. It is terrible."

Located east of Puerto Rico, Barbuda has 1,600 residents and is the sister island of Antigua, which was spared the worst of the storm.

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