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All 1,800 residents now are homeless, having been evacuated to the sister island of Antigua.

The final wind speed reading from a local anemometer was 155mph (250kmh) before the storm blew it away.

He said: "It is very fortunate that Antigua had only relatively minor damage from Hurricane Irma and is now functioning normally with the result that it could take-in the inhabitants of Barbuda and provide for them on an immediate basis". Storms in the future will be Category 5's and more.

"There is no living man left on the island, the civillization that has been living for 300 years on Barbuda is no longer there", US Ambassador to Antigua and Barbuda Ronald Sanders told USA Today. "A civilization that has existed on that island for over 300 years has now been extinguished". "Hurricane Irma was the most ferocious, cruel and merciless storm".

"This was a huge monster", he says.

"We'll put it into something that really helps people and we'll be working with Bishop Browne who's on the ground and knows what's going on and what the needs are and how soon they can get back to the island".

Currently, residents of the island are housed in government buildings and hospitals in Antigua.

Browne said he hopes Barbuda can be safe to inhabit again by the end of the year. He said their government simply can not afford it. Browne went on to say that they hope global partners and friendly governments will come forward to assist the island. This is a disaster.

The ambassador didn't mince words when it came to calling for help from the global community, laying some of the blame for the island's predicament at the world's feet. This is not a want.

Reconstruction efforts are going to be much costly than what the islands can afford and the clean-up alone could take anywhere between a few weeks to several months.

"As devastating as it is and as awful as it is, it will come back", the actor told CNN.

"In the case of Barbuda, [where 99 per cent of the island was decimated]. there will have to be changes in how Barbuda is reconstructed", Jackson told reporters at a news conference here this afternoon, while stressing that "there are coastal issues facing that country". At the time it was populated with Arawak and Carib indians. As images released from the NASA Earth Observatory show, there is a striking difference in appearance pre- and post-Hurricane Irma on the islands in the Caribbean.

Early Spanish communities were followed by French and eventually English settlements. Hurricane Irma had destroyed a number of islands before moving on to the Florida Keys.

The brothers transported slaves to Barbuda to work on sugarcane plantations in Antigua, and as numbers of slaves grew, the island became a significant exporter of slaves in the region.

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