Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean storm ever recorded in history, has wrought so much devastation to Barbuda.
Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that one person has been killed by the disaster. Around 90% of the nation’s structures and vehicles have also been destroyed. So bad was the devastation that people describe the island after Irma as “barely habitable”, with 60% of Barbuda’s residents rendered homeless.
But one person is coming forward to bring some refreshing good news for devastated Barbuda as he offers help and hope. Hollywood’s acclaimed actor Robert De Niro has expressed his concerns for the island and the welfare of its people. The American celebrity who owns the soon-to-be Paradise Found Nobu resort in Barbuda has vowed to rebuild the island, which lies roughly 250 miles east of Puerto Rico.
The actor said in a statement: “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 with his business partner billionaire James Packer purchased the former K Club Resort on Barbuda last year but have yet to start their construction on their new acquired property. The pair’s original proposal faced challenges from the residents of the island, who legally have ownership of all land in Barbuda, and as such have a right to vote on all proposals.
Browne has inspected the damage, and said that based from what he saw, the rebuilding process can take years. He also expressed concern for the second hurricane, Jose, as it turns toward the island later this week. So far the forecast is that it is also a major storm that can pass the island on Saturday.
It is not clear yet how De Niro would help in the rebuilding of the island, if he is donating a certain amount, and if such charity is tied to his interests with his resort plans.