Today, September 5, Barbudans are once again reflecting on the impact of the worst hurricane to hit their island in recent times: Hurricane Irma, which devastated their homeland five years ago.
Irma made landfall on September 5, 2017; battered the island into September 6; and left in its wake a flattened Barbuda and one death.
Community activist John Mussington – who is described as a “Barbudan to the bone” – says this storm continues to torment the people of Barbuda, especially the youth who experienced a hurricane for the first time.
He notes that coping is not as bad for older persons, especially those who experienced Hurricane Luis, which was also devastating. But Irma’s violence and duration made it an experience that will stay with its victims forever, Mussington says.
Accordingly, he says September 5 is a day for somber reflection as the island continues to rebuild.
Mussington sees the destructive storm as having had a two-fold impact on the small island – that is, during the hurricane and what the Government attempted to do after.
The Barbuda activist is still thanking those Antiguans who opened their hands, hearts and homes to the displaced people from the sister-island.
However, Mussington is still aggrieved that the Gaston Browne Administration tried to permanently remove Barbudans from their homeland in order to turn the island into an exclusive resort destination.
Irma was one of the first hurricanes to exceed the Saffir–Simpson Wind Scale measurement for hurricanes, clocking in at five-plus in intensity.
The Wind Scale is a 1 to 5 rating based only on a hurricane’s maximum sustained wind speed.