Canadian crews deliver much-needed supplies to Antigua and Barbuda

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Hurricane Irma, the Category 5 tropical cyclone that swallowed it September 6, was almost 650 kilometres across.

Hurricane Irma swept through the Leeward Islands, and swept away with it more than 300 years of civilization.

"We are committed to helping Barbudans rebuild after the devastation caused by Irma, and this will be an important step forward", said Vanessa Slowey, CEO of Digicel, Caribbean and Central America.

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In St. Martin/St. Maarten, Samaritan's Purse was the first NGO responder. Two 5.5kw generators will also be provided.

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

As reported by CNN, Sanders, who has been the USA ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda since 2015, said the damage from the storm "was complete", adding that there is not one single living person on the island. His presence on Barbuda and the fact that he could personally give comfort and hope to the traumatised, bewildered and desperate people was decisive and invaluable.

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"We'll have this money, if they say we need construction materials or mattresses, that's what we'll buy".

Though Barbudan evacuees are safe, Sanders says the situation is not ideal - people are living in cramped quarters in government facilities and nursing homes, including some 500 school-aged children. The Antiguans were remarkably open-hearted and welcoming. He urged as many countries as possible to help restore the life of Barbuda. Therefore, preparations will have to include stockpiling food, water, medicines and other essentials long before storms arrive on their shores. Three people were killed in the storm and roughly 60 percent of the population was made homeless.

"We are a small island community - the gross domestic product of Antigua is $US1 billion ($1.2 billion) a year", Sanders explained. Buildings have to be constructed to stand-up to them, or year after year the countries of the Caribbean and the United States will face huge costs to rebuild after disasters and to cope with humanitarian crises. The release said that Browne confirmed that all Barbuda residents have been relocated to Antigua, with just a contingent of military personnel remaining to provide security."I'm very grateful for the visit by the CARICOM Chairman, Secretary-General and other members of the delegation". "We can not cope with our own resources alone". The views expressed are his own.

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