Bury St Edmunds woman to visit hurricane ravaged island of Barbuda to help with relief effort
A Bury St Edmunds woman who has relatives living in Barbuda is planning to visit the Caribbean island which was devastated by Hurricane Irma to help with the clear-up operation.
Scarlett Bolton, 26, and her family have raised nearly £20,000 to support the island, which saw 95% of its buildings destroyed or severely damaged by the Category 5 storm on September 7.
Barbuda has been fully evacuated since Irma struck and another hurricane – Maria – has been upgraded to a category 3 storm with the power to ravage the island further over the next few days.
Alongside the fundraising, Scarlett and sister Alice, whose two cousins live on the island, have been coordinating with businesses in Suffolk and beyond to source and fill two containers of building materials.
Scarlett, an administrator in Bury St Edmunds, said she is planning to visit Barbuda within the next two weeks.
She said: “I have family and many friends on the island and have visited twice-a-year for the past three years. I just really want to help and I felt it was my obligation to go over and do as much as I can.
“The island has been completely evacuated and from what I’ve heard two boats a week have been going over to Barbuda, taking residents to the island for the day to collect belongings and then bringing them back.
“I think Barbudans are frustrated at not being able to get started rebuilding the island. They are very keen to get going but since it happened, not a huge amount has been done.
“But everyone is sticking together and trying to work hard to move forward.”
Scarlett said a host of people have come forward to volunteer support since the hurricane struck.
Two containers have been donated from Goodwood Road Racing Club and Portable Space, in Bacton, near Stowmarket.
Stage One Creative, from York, donated timber, ladders, fixings, and saws, and BJ and C Carberry from Stanton hauled the equipment free of charge.
The money raised from the GoFundMe page will pay for the shipping of the containers.
Scarlett said: “The support from everyone has been amazing. My sister Alice has led on the containers and will make sure it all gets to Barbuda so everyone gets what they need.”
To donate, click here to visit the GoFundMe page.