This morning I talked to Julie Esty, founder of ABSAR, to get an update on how aid is progressing for Barbuda.

Julie is attending regular disaster management meetings for Barbuda, hosted by NODS and so has somewhat of an overview of the situation but with that said their focus is on assisting on health and communications.

Jonathon Cornelius yesterday helped set up a VHF repeater in Barbuda (donated by S/Y Bluetoo). This now means that If you put your VHF Marine Radio on International 80 you can talk around Barbuda. There is a second repeater on Antigua that will allow ABSAR to speak to groups on Barbuda using International 80. This will significantly help with coordination of aid agencies on the ground in Barbuda and relief workers. Thanks to Cisco Tactical Operations there is also now a satellite link that will allow NODS and Barbuda Command to communicate by phone and internet.

Julie is currently focusing on getting a temporary facility up and running which will be used for aid workers as a communication centre and air-conditioned structure in which volunteer and aid and relief workers can rest and get away from the heat. The original plan was to set up a temporary hospital, but as the Government is now working with Red Cross on setting one up, therefore the ABSAR team decided that a facility to assist the ongoing relief efforts would be very useful. The timeline on the relief facility should be about three weeks and the Mill Reef Fund and Jumby Bay were the very kind benefactors who supported the purchase of the facility.

The centre, a 32 * 16 ft sturdy tent will have lounge space, cold drinks and workstations with internet availability so that aid agencies and volunteers can keep everyone updated with their progress and requirements – an essential facility to assist in the coordination of rebuilding Barbuda. Julie is also recruiting a Barbudan to run the facility.

The ABSAR team continue to raise funds. If you would like to assist please drop in cash or cheques at the office in English Harbour or email for more information.

Alison Sly-Adams