Around 90% of the nation's structures and vehicles have been destroyed, killing at least one person, Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne stated. It's left the island "barely habitable", with 60% of Barbuda's 1,600 residents left homeless.
Robert De Niro, who owns the soon-to-be Paradise Found Nobu resort in Barbuda, has expressed his concerns for the island and the welfare of its people, vowing to rebuild the island, which lies roughly 250 miles east of Puerto Rico.
"We are beyond saddened to learn of the devastation in Barbuda caused from Hurricane Irma and look forward to working with the Paradise Found Nobu team, the Barbuda Council, GOAB and the entire Barbuda community to successfully rebuild what nature has taken away from us," De Niro said in a statement obtained by New York Daily News.
De Niro and billionaire James Packer had bought the former K Club Resort on Barbuda last year but had yet to begin construction on the property; their original proposal faced controversy with the island's residents, who legally have ownership of all land in Barbuda and a right to vote on all proposals.
Brown told local TV news station ABS Television Radio that any rebuilding initiative will take "years" after inspecting the damage. He has also stated that residents should be evacuated if the second hurricane, Jose, turns toward the island later this week; it's forecast to become a major storm and pass close to the island on Saturday.
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