Barbuda has finally lifted the mandatory evacuation order that was imposed after Hurricane Irma destroyed much of the island in September 2017. The first place the Category 5 hurricane made landfall, much of the British colony of Antigua and Barbuda was destroyed or damaged by the storm.
Beyond just the physical property damage—an estimated 95 per cent of buildings on the island we ruined—there are lingering problems like mosquitos from standing water, a booming rodent population, and debris on roads. But now that those issues are also being addressed, the long road to recovery can begin.
And it might not all be bad news. Prime Minister Gaston Browne has been viewing the storm and subsequent recovery efforts with an attitude of opportunity rather than devastation. Telephone lines can be rebuilt to go under ground. Solar energy can be incorporated, and houses and hospitals can be rebuilt better and stronger to withstand future storms.
For now, it would appear the worst is over and while its inevitable that Antigua and Barbuda will look much different in the future, perhaps that’s not a bad thing.