Sunday 17 November, 2019

Voluntary evacuation begins in Barbuda as State of Emergency imposed

Voluntary evacuation has begun in Barbuda

Voluntary evacuation has begun in Barbuda

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has imposed a State of Emergency on Barbuda and a Voluntary Evacuation Order.

A statement from Maurice F Merchant, Director-General of Communications in Government of Antigua and Barbuda, said Cabinet decided, in light of the destruction on the island of Barbuda caused by Hurricane Irma, to declare a State of Emergency for Barbuda only.

"The declaration of a State of Emergency in Barbuda is necessary for the Government to protect life and property there and to allow authorities to carry out necessary work for the immediate safety of the island and its rehabilitation, including the attraction of disaster relief from the international community," the statement said. 

"The Government emphasizes that the State of Emergency does not apply to Antigua where normal life proceeds as usual, including the functioning of the airport and ports, government business, commercial activity, and social activities."

On Thursday, the Government also issued a voluntary evacuation order for Barbuda, encouraging senior citizens, disabled and infirmed persons to take advantage of the opportunity to relocate to Antigua. It was pointed out that should the twin island nation come under threat by Hurricane Jose, a mandatory evacuation order will be issued. 

On September 6, Barbuda was hit by Hurricane Irma which severely damaged more than 90 percent of all buildings, and demolished approximately 30 percent of all homes there.

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