Donor conference to be called for hurricane-hit Caribbean

Venezuelan Military Aircraft loading supplies at the Hewanorra International Airport

Speaking from the capital of St. John's on Antigua island, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the destruction the island of Barbuda suffered is also historic.

"The Digicel team is ready and able".

He said: "It is very fortunate that Antigua had only relatively minor damage from Hurricane Irma and is now functioning normally with the result that it could take-in the inhabitants of Barbuda and provide for them on an immediate basis".

According to the company, over 200 engineers, technicians and riggers have been mobilised across the region to undertake the required network restoration work.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Samaritan's Purse conducted ground assessments (specifically on Barbuda) and is now coordinating with government officials to prepare for the distribution of emergency relief supplies.

At a service to give thanks for the deliverance of the peoples of Antigua and Barbuda at Southwark Cathedral on Thursday evening Baroness Scotland recalled the major devastation experienced by six Commonwealth countries so far this year: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sierra Leone and now Barbuda.

The Dean of Southwark the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, welcomed numerous diaspora of Antigua and Barbuda from London and beyond.

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"I'm a realist", Sanders said.

Somerville says he intends on going to Barbuda himself once the island is habitable again to see how he can help. Only pets were left on Barbuda.

"They're just 30 miles from the eye and they came out with minor damage, it's a total miracle", Somerville says. A group of Barbudans who oppose the island's governing party vocally opposed the plan. He said the government is trying to raise money from private sources.

'The island and the people on the island had absolutely no chance, ' Mr Sanders added.

"We are a small island community-the gross domestic product of Antigua is $1 billion a year".

"The plan is to organise a regional and global aid conference that can help to get significant pledges towards the reconstruction effort of these countries". Therefore, preparations will have to include stockpiling food, water, medicines and other essentials long before storms arrive on their shores. Its infrastructure is in pieces and its population of 1,800 are now homeless and scattered around a number of shelters across Antigua, which escaped the worst of the storm's impact. 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. "We can not cope with our own resources alone".

Meanwhile, the Antigua and Barbuda consulate general in Miami, Florida, has set up an official warehouse to receive humanitarian/physical donations. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto.

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