Hurricane Irma is currently headed for the Florida coastline, but it's already leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Multiple people have died as Irma has all but leveled the entirety of the Caribbean, and that includes Barbuda, the island where Robert De Niro's hotel was located.
According to multiple outlets, Irma has absolutely devastated the island of Barbuda, where about 1,600 people live. The hurricane made landfall on Barbuda early Wednesday morning with winds hitting 185 mph, and Prime Minister Gaston Browne told reporters that the island is now "barely habitable." He also said he predicts it will cost at least $150 million to repair the damage Irma caused, adding, "That is no exaggeration. It is just total devastation. Barbuda is literally a rubble."
De Niro is a principal investor in Barbuda's Paradise Found Nobu Resort. As of now, it's unknown how much damage was done to the resort, since communication and access to Barbuda are still cut off. De Niro issued a statement Thursday saying he would do his part to help the small island community rebuild from Irma, which is admirably altruistic of him.
"We are beyond saddened to learn of the devastation in Barbuda caused from Hurricane Irma and look forward to working with the Paradise Found Nobu Resort team, the Barbuda Council, GOAB and the entire Barbuda community to successfully rebuild what nature has taken away from us," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Barbuda's residents are without water or phone services, and Browne said aid has so far been unable to reach the island. "It was difficult to send in any boats there today because things are still very dangerous," he explained. "Within the next 18 hours, we intend to mobilize a significant amount of resources to send over to Barbuda to provide some temporary relief."
As Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in the United States over the weekend, our thoughts are with everyone in its path. We should also give appreciation to De Niro, who is stepping in to help during this time — and not only to serve his own professional interests but the entirety of Barbuda, too.
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