CNN is reporting that the only hospital on the island of Barbuda has been destroyed and the rest of the island “a lot of destruction, upwards of 90%,” according to Charles Fernandez, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, “was one of the first on the ground” after Irma and what he saw was devastating.
Relief efforts will be coming from Antigua and the British Virgin Islands, according to Fernandez.
Gaston Browne told CNN’s Anderson Cooper what he saw was “heart-wrenching,” when he flew over Barbuda.
“I have never seen any such destruction on a per capita basis compared to what I saw in Barbuda this afternoon,” he said. “The infrastructure was damaged. All of the institutions, the lone hospital, the schools.”
One death has been reported so far, he said, but “when you look at the extent of devastation I’m surprised we didn’t have more fatalities.”
An infant died in Irma’s wrath, a government official said.
The child died as its mother tried to escape a damaged structure, Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said in an interview with ABS TV Radio in Antigua.
Wednesday marked the first day government officials were able to visit the island of about 1,600 people, Browne said. Upwards of 90% of the island has been destroyed, he said.
“The entire housing stock was damaged,” Browne said. “It is just a total devastation. Barbuda is literally a rubble.”
He estimated that 60 percent of the island’s population is homeless. Most are staying in shelters and damaged homes. Its residents were in “good spirits” despite the destruction, he said.
“What is important is we’re going to continue to band together,” Browne said.