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Barbuda fishing industry almost completely destroyed

Staff Writer |
Barbuda was, in the words of Prime Minister Gaston Browne, decimated by Hurricane Irma.

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The Category 5 tropical cyclone destroyed over 90 per cent of the buildings on the island.

When Browne visited Barbuda via helicopter Tuesday, he estimated damages to the island at USD 100 million. Images of the aftermath show an island reduced to rubble. Barbuda's economy is supported by fishing and agriculture.

But with the passage of Irma all of the essential infrastructure has been destroyed. A reality that has complicated the recovery prospects for the island.

TeleSUR English spoke to the regional coordinator of the United Nation's Small Grants Program Ruth Spencer in what was a choppy connection due to the hurricane's effects on the communication network.

She says the damage to the islands fishing and agricultural industry is almost complete, adding that the extent of the damage is so severe that it may exceed the prime minister's estimation.

"I think it is going to be more than that because all the infrastructure is down. The utility system, the airport is ... there is nothing left on the island. I don't think the people can go back and rebuild their lives," she says.

She says all fishermen have lost their boats, which they can't repurchase. The ports and other infrastructure have been destroyed. They will have to be rebuilt. All utilities on the island are down, while seafood is under threat of perishing.

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