Savaged by wind and waves that forced its entire population to evacuate, life returns to this island of pink- and white-sand beaches
Among the islands most deeply affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria, Barbuda’s devastation was shockingly thorough. In the wake of 185-mile-per-hour winds and 15-foot waves, residents found more than two-thirds of the buildings on their island were destroyed. The entire population—about 1,600 residents—was evacuated to sister island Antigua while Barbuda began the painstaking path toward recovery.
The good news: More than half of Barbuda’s displaced residents have been able to return to their homes, and the first of the island’s beach resorts to recover—the charming Barbuda Belle—is scheduled to reopen in November; barbudabelle.com.
Also good news: Barbuda’s population of 10,000 frigatebirds disappeared entirely after the storm. Now, the birds have begun returning to nest and breed at the nearly wiped-out mangroves of Codrington Lagoon; a project is underway to restore this crucial habitat.