09 Sep 2017
Hurricane Irma, a category 5 storm with winds upwards of 185 miles per hour, passed directly over Barbuda on September 5-6, 2017. This storm has totally devastated the island of 160.56 km2. The approximately 1,638 population (2011 census) are being evacuated from the island.
The Prime Minister of Antigua/Barbuda, the Honourable Gaston Browne, has ordered the mandatory evacuation of the island, citing that all of the infrastructures have been totally destroyed. There is no communication network, and basic infrastructure is totally demolished. Along with these realities, another Atlantic storm, Hurricane Jose, is just hours away from impacting the Leeward Islands. Hurricane Jose is now a very dangerous category 4 hurricane packing winds of up to 150 miles per hour.
The lone Seventh-day Adventist Church building has been totally destroyed along with the pastor's house. All the churches of the various denominations on the island have been badly damaged or totally demolished.
Media coverage of Barbuda's destruction has been carried by major media houses including CNN and BBC.
The international arm of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has already reached out to the leadership of the South Leeward Mission through ADRA Director Dr. Wayne Knowles and is standing by ready to assist. The South Leeward Mission Community Services Department is presently arranging housing of over 45 Barbudans at a facility at Gilberts where they will be fed and cared for.
These are very difficult times in the South Leeward Mission; however, we give God thanks that we can work together to alleviate suffering and pain. Hurricane Irma is a hurricane of unprecedented strength. The reports of individuals who experienced the storm appear to make for reading in an action thriller. Unfortunately, one life was lost during the storm. The mother tearfully described how her child was taken from her arms by the wind. Although the child was discovered alive some time later, he eventually died of his injuries.
Barbuda Adventist church after Hurricane Irma
We solicit the prayers of all those who are reading this report. We trust the God will be with Barbuda and all the other territories that have been devastated by Hurricane Irma and that He will protect us from the ravages of Hurricane Jose.