Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda after Irma: ‘Barbuda is barely habitable’

The small Caribbean island of Barbuda was hit by the full force of Hurricane Irma today, and its prime minister reports that there is “a lot of destruction, upwards of 90%.”

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Barbuda and Antigua “was one of the first on the ground” after the Category 5 storm passed the island. Browne called the damage “unprecedented” and said that after the storm’s 185mph winds hit the community, that “Barbuda is barely habitable.”

During the storm, all communications with the nation were lost for 6 hours, but authorities were hopeful that Barbuda was doing alright, since its sister island Antigua was largely spared from the worst of Irma’s wrath.

At least one Barbuda citizen – an infant – has been reported killed by the storm, with Browne estimating that at least 60% of the population is now homeless. Search and rescue efforts are currently underway.

As of this writing, Irma has not slowed to a Category 4 and is expected to pass Puerto Rico soon. It is still unknown whether the storm will make landfall in Florida this weekend.