UPDATE: 6:06 p.m. EDT – Initial video out of Barbuda showed the decimation wrought by Hurricane Irma in the wake of the storm Wednesday evening. Most of the structures on the island appeared to be leveled and it remained unclear where the residents were taking shelter.

Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne confirmed at least one person had died in the storm.


UPDATE: 5:37 p.m. EDT – Hurricane Irma brought devastation to Barbuda when it slammed into the small Caribbean island Wednesday morning. At least 90 percent of all structures on Barbuda were destroyed in the storm, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

A lack of communication out of Barbuda makes it unclear, exactly, the extent of the devastation. It appeared that no contact had been made with the island by an outside entity in approximately 12 hours. An initial statement by Browne announced that infrastructure on the island had withstood the storm thanks to preparation – a statement that later turned out to be wrong. Late Wednesday afternoon, it was still unknown how many, if any, casualties there were on the island, which is home to about 1,600 people. 

Original story:

After Hurricane Irma slammed into the small Caribbean island of Barbuda, the apparent silence from residents on the island spurred fears of the worst on social media. People took to Twitter and other sites to ask for information as little came out of the island.

It appeared nobody had made contact with anyone in Barbuda for at least a few hours after the storm hit, prompting serious concerns about the welfare of all those on the island.

“Anyone with news from Barbuda please contact me,” a Twitter user pleaded. “I need to know how things are, haven’t heard from my mom and family no one has.”

“It’s insane to me that we’ve lost contact with an entire nation,” another person wrote. “Desperately searching Twitter for signs of life in Barbuda.”

Striking images out of St. Martin, another Caribbean island, showed the devastation wrought by Irma’s 185 mph winds. But there appeared to be few, if any, photographs documenting what occurred on Barbuda.

“Emergency officials are urging anyone in Barbuda to get in contact with someone- no one has heard from anyone for over an hour,” a Twitter user posted.

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, however, allayed some fears with a statement on the island in the wake of the storm.

“Preliminary reports indicate damage to roofs and to some buildings, but I have had no report of any fatalities,” said Browne. “Barbuda too benefitted from a high level of readiness, responsive to the urgings of the government and from the preparations that were made in advance, including the shelter constructed for that purpose.”