Antigua & Barbuda

Barbuda’s Unending Disaster

The case of Hurricane Irma’s impact on Barbuda provides a significant example of what is often termed “disaster capitalism.” It is defined as the exploitation of natural disasters by governments and corporations to push through policies or projects that would otherwise face resistance, typically for economic or political gain. Residents of the island of Barbuda say that is what is happening to them. Irma, a catastrophic category 5 hurricane caused more than USD$220 million damage to homes and infrastructure on the island of Barbuda.  It also left a path of extreme environmental destruction on the island. The storm ripped the roofs off many homes and buildings, power poles were toppled and debris was scattered across the landscape.  The police station was largely destroyed, medical services halted.  Official estimates indicated 95% of structures on the island were damaged or destroyed. 

What surrounded the approximately 1,500 inhabitants as they abandoned their tiny island on September 6, 2017 was utter destruction.

Climate-Proofing Education: How Antigua & Barbuda is Tackling Rising Temperatures

Thousands of students who have headed back to school in Antigua and Barbuda since September, are being impacted by severe heat as global temperatures continue to rise. The heat is putting young learners in an environment that is not only uncomfortable but it affects the quality of education they receive. If they cannot stay focused, they’re not getting that information that is communicated. It affects their ability to perhaps even recall or even do the exams sufficiently because the body is already under pressure to get rid of that heat.Climatologist, Orvin Paige

Our research found that the heat is not uniformed all across Antigua and Barbuda. Orange Valley and Five Islands tend to record the highest temperatures, creating additional challenges for students in these areas, while Freetown experiences comparatively milder conditions.

Pandemic-era Dip in Childhood Vax Rates Sparks Concern

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Caribbean had a vaccination problem. About 10 years ago, childhood immunisation rates began to slip below the World Health Organisation’s recommended 95 percent, leaving the region vulnerable to a potential re-emergence of deadly diseases like polio, measles or mumps. When the pandemic hit, those rates plummeted further in many countries. “If you look at the Caribbean as a whole, we find that of the more than 11,000 children younger than one year who live in the Caribbean, almost one in ten did not receive all of their vaccine doses,” Dr. Margherita Ghiselli, an immunisation advisor with the Pan American Health Organisation, told the Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network during a virtual PAHO media briefing in April. Much of the rest of the Americas faces a similar predicament, which health officials often blame on a Covid double-whammy: First, movement restrictions during the pandemic limited access to routine medical care; and second, misinformation associated with the Covid shot has made people more reluctant to trust any vaccine.