Irma Damages 90 Percent of the Island of Barbuda Including Robert De Niro’s Hotel: ‘It Is Just Total Devastation’


As Hurricane Irma rampaged across the Atlantic Ocean it slammed directly into the tiny island of Barbuda, destroying 90 percent of its built structures and killing at least one person.

According to ABC News, the Category 5 hurricane has wreaked “widespread damage” to the island, which is inhabited by about 1,600 people.

Hurricane Irma battered Barbuda with 185 mph winds around 2 a.m. local time Wednesday. It is predicated to hit Florida overnight Saturday into Sunday.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda told ABS TV/Radio Antigua that the island is “barely habitable.”

He added that the cost to repair infrastructure and homes would cost no less than $150 million.

“That is no exaggeration,” Browne said of the predicted cost. “It is just total devastation. Barbuda is literally a rubble.”

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In a statement to PEOPLE, Robert De Niro, who is a principal in the Paradise Found Nobu Resort alongside media mogul James Packer in Barbuda, said he will help the island rebuild.

“We are beyond saddened to learn of the devastation in Barbuda caused from Hurricane Irma and look forward to working with the Paradise Found Nobu Resort team, the Barbuda Council, GOAB and the entire Barbuda community to successfully rebuild what nature has taken away from us,” the statement read.

The extent of the damage to the the resort remains unclear as communication and access to the island remains difficult.

PM Browne said getting supplies delivered to residents of the island was “a challenge. It was difficult to send in any boats there today because things are still very dangerous.”

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“Within the next 18 hours we intend to mobilize a significant amount of resources to send over to Barbuda to provide some temporary relief,” he added.

Browne confirmed to ABS TV that there is currently no water or phone services available to the island’s residents. He said the hurricane caused one death, an infant.

The Guardian reports the French part of St. Martin has been “95 percent destroyed.” Daniel Gibb, a local official told Radio Caribbean International that here the island is facing “enormous catastrophe.”

“Ninety-five percent of the island is destroyed,” he continued. “I’m in shock. It’s frightening. I have sick people to evacuate, I have a population to evacuate because I don’t know where I can shelter them.”

At least six people have died in the French part of St. Martin, according to The Guardian.

Miami-Dade County ordered a mandatory evacuation for Thursday morning. This is the first in 12 years, for more than 100,000 residents of mobile homes, barrier islands and other areas, according to The Miami Herald.

“This storm is bigger, faster and stronger than Hurricane Andrew,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez echoed his words, saying, “Irma remains a strong Category 5 hurricane. Significant weakening is not expected.”

CNN reports at least two people died and two others were seriously injured in St. Barts and St. Martin.



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