Hurricane Irma 'totally demolished' 90% of Barbuda -- and the island is under hurricane watch again

Early on Wednesday, Hurricane Irma engulfed the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda and its population of about 1,800 with tornado-force, 185-mph, Category 5 winds and storm surge, destroying measurement instruments and cutting the island off from communication.

After initially surveying the damage, Gaston Browne, prime minister of the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, said Barbuda was “totally demolished” and that 90% of its buildings were destroyed.

At least one fatality was confirmed.

There are few photos of the damage in Barbuda so far — though at least one widely shared video that claimed to show Irma was more than a year old.

But satellites captured the eye of the storm moving over the island.

And ABS Television Antigua captured footage of some of the initial damage as well.

In some cases, buildings were flattened.

Browne described the island as “literally a rubble” and said there was no water or phone service there. He told Anderson Cooper that he estimated it would take $US100 million to rebuild.

Hurricane Irma caused similar damage on St. Martin and St. Barts islands and affected the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well.

Irma is moving toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and Florida with still catastrophic intensity. It has moved on from Antigua and Barbuda, but the islands are already under hurricane watch again as Hurricane Jose, which is expected to become a Category 3 storm by Friday, approaches.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.