A Barbudan resident, who has expressed a strong desire to return home, said she is facing an uphill battle to get the assistance needed to repair her home which was battered during the passage of Hurricane Irma last September.
The woman, Nicky Jeffrey, said that she lived in the two-bedroom home with her three daughters, aged 12, 10 and eight.
The property was destroyed when the hurricane struck last year, leaving only the foundation.
“It is a level four. My entire home was destroyed, the roof and everything. The only thing that remains is the kitchen and the bathroom wall,” she said.
The woman said that she has reached out to a number of individuals, including donor agencies on Barbuda, but was told that they are not yet ready to repair level four homes and homes with level one and two damage are a priority at the moment.
The distraught woman said that she is frustrated because she prefers to return home rather than to continue living in Antigua.
She said that her living situation will become more difficult soon because by the end of the month she would be required to contribute financially to the home she currently occupies in Jolly Harbour.
The mother of three said this would be extremely difficult because her only means of income is a salary from the Barbuda Council which is paid out periodically.
Jeffrey explained that while she understands the need to conduct repairs in an orderly manner, women with children and the elderly should be looked after first.
“If they can’t get them back in their homes, provide somewhere that they can live. Single mothers, what will we do with our children if they go back to Barbuda? Right now they are threatening to take us off the Council’s payroll if we do not return home,” the woman lamented.
Stating that she recently returned to Antigua from Barbuda, the woman also claimed that she is using the little resources she has to reconstruct the foundation of her home, with the hope of continuing the repairs once more funds become available.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS), Philmore Mullin stated that there were at least two shelters on Barbuda that are equipped to accommodate residents, who wish to return. He also said that a third shelter would be completed within weeks.
This information was shared with reporters on June 7 during a post-Cabinet press conference.
During that same conference, Mullin also revealed that some Barbudans living in shelters in Antigua will be asked to leave by the end of the month.
He said then, the agency was concerned about the lack of cleanliness and vandalism at the shelters.