Residents on the devastated Caribbean island of Barbuda were being evacuated Friday morning in preparation for yet another hurricane that had the potential to hit the region. The 62 square mile island was decimated after it took a direct hit by Hurricane Irma early Wednesday morning.
About 300 Barbudans had been evacuated to neighboring Antigua, which fared far better in the storm, the Antigua Observer reported Thursday. The remainder of the islands 2,000 residents were expected to be finished evacuating later in the day, said Major Alanda Michael, operations officer of the National Emergency Operations Center.
Almost all of the buildings on Barbuda were completely destroyed by Category 5 Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Gaston Browne reported. Browne described the island as "barely habitable" in the wake of the storm and estimated it would take $100 million to rebuild the island.
Hot on the heels of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Jose was upgraded to a Category 4 storm Friday morning. It was likely to impact Barbuda, Antigua, Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, according to AccuWeather. Barbuda remained under an official hurricane watch Friday. After an appeal from the government of both islands, residents on Antigua who still had standing homes were sheltering those who lost their homes on Barbuda.
"Barbuda right now is literally a rubble. We are very worried about Hurricane Jose," Browne told the Washington Post Thursday. "[Hurricane Irma] was emotionally painful. It was sad to see such beautiful country being destroyed over a couple of hours."
A search and rescue team was deployed to the island to aid in evacuating, comprised of members of the Defense Force, the Fire Department and Emergency Management Services. Aid workers sent water, food and generators to be transported as well, the Antigua Observer reported.