Recipients of new homes | Courtesy ABS Television/Radio (2020)
While we will always be thankful for help great or small, but when bureaucracy produces poor results we must talk about that. After three years since Hurricane Irma completely devastated Barbuda in 2017. Barbuda which is the sister island of Antigua that has a permanent population of an estimated 95,000, was completely devastated by hurricane Irma which was a category 5 storm that reduced the entire island of 62 square miles to rubble. So much so that the entire population was evacuated leaving Barbuda uninhabited for the first time in 300 years.
Today we learned from the national broadcaster in Antigua, ABS Television/Radio that 15 residents received keys to houses and a further 5 residents, whose houses were badly damaged by ‘Irma’ also received keys to the properties. What has struck me, is that the houses are far from finished, as the residents/beneficiaries, are left to complete the construction by plastering, inside and outside walls, and the installation of tiles and the painting of the homes. No doubt, many of the residents will find the cost of paying tradesmen burdensome. The buildings are the first of 150 homes to be built under a UNDP/ EU- funded-project.
A little self-help
A spokeswoman from the National authorising Office, Christophine Worell-Samuel, said at a joint, ceremony that ” in order to achieve, as close to as possible the 150 homes to be addressed, and given the availability of funds, the beneficiaries steering committee determined that finishes, such as plastering of internal and external walls, painting and tiling would be the responsibility of the beneficiaries.” An undisclosed number of homes, another official said, would be handed over about this time next year. Meanwhile, keys to the newly-rebuilt Hanna Thomas Hospital in Barbuda was also handed over to officials during the joint-handing over ceremony on Friday.
I guess the 20 homes could not have been built with any less urgency. Let’s hope that maybe the lucky few might get a shelter in time for the 2021 hurricane season and end this post-hurricane Irma suffering. A mixed blessing indeed.
2020 hurricane season update
Meantime, the new homes come as the 2020 hurricane season moves into day 78 which has seen nine (9) named-storms thus far. Tropical Storm Josephine, formerly Tropical depression 11, is forecast to pass Northeast of the Leeward Islands this weekend and forecasters say that the system poses no threat to any of the Caribbean islands.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on August 6 updated its 2020 Hurricane Season forecast, saying that the “2020 Atlantic hurricane season will be “extremely active.” NOAA’s prediction center calculates that there could be 19 to 25 named storms this year of which seven to 11 could become hurricanes, and three to six could be category three (3) or higher.
ABS Television/Radio (2020). Available at: https://www.facebook.com/abstvradio/ (Accessed: 15 August 2020).
‘Extremely active’ hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2020). Available at: https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/extremely-active-hurricane-season-possible-for-atlantic-basin (Accessed: 15 August 2020).
Tropical Storm Josephine Public Advisory (2020). Available at: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/150236.shtml (Accessed: 15 August 2020).