The devastation caused by Hurricane Irma has left a Caribbean island uninhabited by civilisation ‘for the first time in 300 years’.
All of Barbuda’s 1,800 residents have been evacuated and more than 95 per cent of its structures have been damaged after the ferocious storm hit its shores last week.
The Category 5 hurricane battered the Caribbean with winds of up to 185mph leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
Many of Barbuda’s residents were relocated to Antigua, which did not suffer as much damage.
The Ambassador to the US for both islands, Ronald Sanders, told USA Today: ‘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.’
Irma was 378 miles wide when it hit Barbuda, a small island of just 62 square miles – the damage is estimated to cost around $200m (£15m).
Photographs taken after the storm show homes completely flattened with debris strewn about the landscape.
‘The island and the people on the island had absolutely no chance,’ Mr Sanders added.
Barbuda’s relocated residents are now living in cramped conditions in Antingua’s government buildings and nursing homes.
The island’s GDP stands at $1bn (£744m) a year and Mr Sanders is hoping that other countries will provide it with money to aid reconstruction.
He said: ‘We are hopeful that the international community will come to our aid, not because we’re begging for something we want, but because we’re begging for something that is needed.’