As Antigua and Barbuda continues to brace for the possible impact of Hurricane Irma, which is now a category 4 storm, disaster officials on Barbuda say they have implemented the necessary measures to ensure the safety of residents there.
Tessa Webber, the Disaster Coordinator on Barbuda, said officials from the Barbuda Council, Police and Fire Departments, Matron at the hospital and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross have already met and done the preparatory work required ahead of the storm.
“So far, we are intact and ready if the storm decides to come our way. I just came out of a meeting with the council, and we are more or less ready. The council building is already secured, and some homes. The council workers are also out there assisting with the removal of debris and other materials,” Webber said.
She also said that a team is on standby to assist the elderly and members of the disabled community who may need help during the passage of hurricane Irma.
“I have received a list of names from the Community District nurse, so I will be contacting the family to seek whether they want them to move to a shelter or they will be staying with family. We have a rescue team that is already on board, and we have already identified the vehicles that will be transporting people back and forth to the shelters,”
Webber said the Barbuda Community Centre and two other buildings on the sister island would serve as temporary shelters.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Antigua & Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and St. Barts ahead of powerful Hurricane Irma.
The Category 4 storm was moving west-southwest at 13 mph with maximum sustained winds of up to 130 mph, according to the U.S. Hurricane Center.