‘Barbuda is in a much better shape’

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With the level of work completed thus far, the island of Barbuda should be better prepared to withstand future natural disasters.
Philmore Mullin, Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), expressed that level of confidence during an interview yesterday.
He said that while a serious hurricane could once again cause damage to the island, the 200 homes on which roofs have been repaired along with four shelters that have undergone work will be able to endure a storm.
Mullin said NODS has been working in earnest in Barbuda since the passage of Hurricane Irma last September.
 “Barbuda is in a much better shape than it was the last time around. I am quite satisfied that most of the homes where roofs were replaced are relatively safe for persons to stay in if they so desire. However, there are some that still do not have windows and doors. Two other partners are collaborating to do that,” Mullin said.
He added that the windows and doors do not include shutters and he recommended the installation of either fixed shutters or shutters which could be made available to cover up windows and doors in the event that something happens.
As it relates to emergency telecommunications, the disaster official said that NODS will be seeking to ensure that at least three people will be trained in basic radio communication.
The NODS boss also pointed out that while he is satisfied with the quality of the work being done on the roofing and other structures in Barbuda ahead of the hurricane season, he is concerned about the use of 20 and 40 feet containers which are used for additional storage on the island.
When the Category 5 storm devastated the island, killing a young toddler in the process, last year, several containers were also sent flying.
“Going forward the way we use these things will have to be different If we are going to have them as storage they will have to be anchored to a solid foundation. We cannot continue to have containers loosely just being utilised for whatever purpose. We saw how those containers caused damage during the last time and some of them are now at the bottom of the Lagoon,” Mullin said.
NODS officials will be meeting in Barbuda later this week to continue recovery efforts on the sister island.
Meanwhile, Mullin is also encouraging residents in Antigua not to become too complacent by not preparing for the hurricane season. According to him, what happened to Barbuda last year could also happen to Antigua.

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