Caribbean island of Barbuda reduced to rubble by Hurricane Irma

Barbuda after Hurricane Irma. CBS NEWS

BARBUDA — The island of Barbuda was once a Caribbean paradise. Now, it is lost. Hurricane Irma has reduced it to rubble. The ruins lie scattered, torn and ripped apart, reports BBC News’ Laura Bicker.

Having survived the worst storm in living memory, and knowing another is on the way, people are exhausted, hungry — and just desperate to leave.

“It’s, the whole, everybody, Barbuda, it’s just gone,” said one woman.

“We’re not coping. We’re definitely not coping,” said another woman.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne traveled from neighboring Antigua to provide some reassurance.

“Be patient, we’re going to get you all out,” he said.

He knows it’s a race against time before Hurricane Josearrives in just a few hours. He haggled for every boat, helicopter or plane to help with the evacuation.

But fear has started to spread that not everyone will get out in time. One woman was told she can’t get a place on the next boat.

The sheer horrifying scale of the devastation means that barely a building is salvageable. That means that the whole island will have to be rebuilt. And the government has already admitted it simply doesn’t have the money.

The fragments of people’s lives now lie in ruins. They can only hope that one day, they will once again call this island home. But for now, they must leave by any means possible, including a towed barge. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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