The nation’s health minister is urging Barbudans, who are eager to return to the island to participate in the clean-up process, to exercise some level of patience.
Barbudans, who were evacuated here almost two weeks ago after Hurricane Irma devastated the sister island, have complained about what they term the government’s slow progress in launching its clean up campaign. They are also upset that they have
not been able to return to secure their personal belongings.
Molywn Joseph, minister of health, said it would be reckless for the government to allow Barbudans to return prematurely.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Joseph explained, “There is no clinic in Barbuda. There is no hospital. There is no running water. There is hardly any shelter in Barbuda. There is no provision in Barbuda at this time for an airlift from the sister island if there is an emergency. We are planning to have these things in place, so that when people who are going to Barbuda are catered for,” Joseph said.
Over 90 percent of Barbuda’s buildings and infrastructure were destroyed when the Category 5 hurricane hit. With Hurricane Jose on Hurricane Irma’s heels, close to 1,600 Barbudans were evacuated to Antigua.
Staff from the Central Board of Health and the National Solid Waste Management Authority were expected to travel to Barbuda on Monday to participate in the clean-up process, but the trip was cancelled because Hurricane Maria was bearing down on the Leeward Islands.
Meanwhile, Lionel Michael, chief health inspector, was in Barbuda last weekend. He said, “There are copious amounts of waste being generated in Barbuda, especially construction debris, construction demolition waste, to include lumber and galvanise, a tremendous amount of electrical cables and dead animals, and a heavy mosquito infestation.”