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Barbuda and the Traces of Hurricane Irma

13th January 2021

With wind speeds of almost 300 km / h, one of the heaviest tropical storms of all time stood for several hours over the small, flat island. The traces of the destruction can still be seen everywhere today.

A large stretch of beach on the Codrington lagoon was completely torn away. The headland used to go through (see dashed line). Today you can go there in a flat boat.

We walk along the beach on the headland until we come to the passage that was washed away. On the other side you can see the former hotel (Lighthouse Resort), which partially fell into the sea.

We kayak from our anchorage to the hotel. The hotel was solidly built. The roofs weren't torn down, but the bottom subsided and it just slipped into the sea.

As soon as we approach by kayak, a group of guard dogs come running to the beach. They bark excitedly.

While we are paddling around the headland in the kayak, the dogs follow us ashore. Even if the beach is beautiful, we won't go ashore here.

The next day we look at the only settlement on Barbuda: Codrington. With the kayak we need a good hour from our anchorage to the port of Codrington in the interior of the lagoon. Already at the jetty we see the first house with a damaged roof.

Otherwise everything looks very tranquil. The locals kindly explain to us where to moor our kayak and where to find the nearest grocery store. We walk slowly along the main street. We see more destroyed buildings, the condition of which has apparently remained unchanged for two years.

But you don't just see destruction in Codrington. There are houses that have been rebuilt and freshly painted. Normal village life takes place. As with us in the Eifel, everyone knows everyone here. The residents greet each other and have a little chat on the street.

There are a total of three small grocery stores where we get fresh fruit and vegetables. We see a nice little garden restaurant, which is unfortunately closed.

When you read about Hurricane Irma and hear what the people of Barbuda say, you ask yourself many questions.

-Why were the residents of Barbuda evacuated after the hurricane and not before?
Then on the other hand, why did it take you a year before you were allowed to live on the island again?
-How can it be that foreign investors were allowed to visit the island during the period in which the residents were not allowed to enter their island?

The answers to these questions are very different, depending on who is commenting on them. The most important question, however, is: what will happen to Barbuda? Numerous construction projects are planned, the effects of which on nature have not yet been clarified. Among other things, a golf course and a superyacht marina are planned. Barbuda doesn't really need either. Those who do not want to do without it can switch to the neighboring islands.

When visiting the frigate bird colony we found a piece of unspoilt natural paradise. How long will this continue to exist? Barbuda still has miles of undeveloped beaches. But the first excavators are already at work ...🤔🤔

The Caribbean paradise of Barbuda was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.

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