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6 dead, 95% properties damaged as Hurricane Irma hits Caribbean island

'It is just total devastation, Barbuda now is literally rubble,' Prime Minister Gaston Browne said

AFP | PTI  |  St. John's (Antigua and Barbuda) 

Hurricane Irma
Photo courtesy: Twitter @NASAHurricane

killed at least six people and left behind "total devastation" as the monster storm smashed into the tiny of Barbuda today, the prime minister has said.

"It is just total devastation, Barbuda now is literally rubble," Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in the aftermath of the Category Five storm.

Speaking later on CNN, Browne said 95 per cent of properties in Barbuda were damaged, with up to 30 per cent demolished.

"It is absolutely heart-wrenching," he said.

One person is known to have died, Browne said, apparently to be child whose mother was taking him or her to safety after the building they were in was damaged.

The airport was damaged and flights were unable to land. Badly-needed aid will have to be flown in by helicopter from Antigua, he added.

"We have estimated the rebuilding efforts to be no less than $100 million. That is conservativ because we're talking about rebuilding everything, all of the institutions, the infrastructure, the telecommunications, the roads... Even the hotels on the island, those are totally demolished, as well. It is terrible."

Located east of Puerto Rico, Barbuda has 1,600 residents and is the sister island of Antigua, which was spared the worst of the storm.

First Published: Thu, September 07 2017. 08:28 IST