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Chinese premier sends condolences to hurricane-hit Antigua and Barbuda

17 September 2017

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.

Browne confirmed that all Barbuda residents have been relocated to sister island Antigua, with just a contingent of military personnel remaining to provide security. There is no electricity and no clean water.

"For the first time in 300 years", he said, "there's not a single living person on the island of Barbuda - a civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished".

Antigua families have also opened their homes to as many people as they can.

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Nearly all the island's 1,800 residents were evacuated to the neighbouring Caribbean island of Antigua, and those that remained on Barbuda lashed themselves to the roofs of their properties as winds soared to over 150 miles per hour.

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

But most of those rescued and brought to the neighboring island are living in shelters, nursing homes and government buildings, Sanders told the Takeaway. Now that school is back in session, Antigua must find room for these students.

He said that Prime Minister Gaston Browne is already engaged about the need for a careful and well documented plan for the rebuilding of Barbuda that is sustainable, viable and "bankable' to attract the necessary funding".

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

Sanders is seeking help from around the world to aid in recovery efforts, with initial estimates at around $200 million, USA Today reported.

"While the government is doing it's very best, to cope with that situation and start a rebuilding process in Barbuda, we simply can't take on a project of that magnitude by ourselves", Sanders added. Barbuda is not just a disaster, it's a humanitarian crisis. He said their government simply can not afford it. Browne went on to say that they hope global partners and friendly governments will come forward to assist the island.

"We believe climate change is here to stay - it's a reality, despite all of the naysayers", he concluded. "We know that these things have occurred as a result of the profligacy of the countries that are rich, and have abused the system".

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Chinese premier sends condolences to hurricane-hit Antigua and Barbuda