New Orleans residents fear for families in the Caribbean

As Hurricane Irma made landfall, locals stayed in close contact with their loved ones.

Antigua and Barbuda were two Caribbean islands hit hard by Hurricane Irma Wednesday.

So far officials have confirmed one fatality in Barbuda. The government says there has been massive destruction on the island with a significant number of homes destroyed. New Orleanians with relatives in the Caribbean watched the news closely, spoke to family often and waited for more news.

Vernon Ogarro was at work Wednesday in New Orleans, but his mind was a thousand miles away with his family in Antigua.

"They're trying to restore power," Ogarro said after speaking with relatives. "Over the weekend they should have power back up."

The category 5 hurricane shifted eastward Wednesday, sparing Ogarro's home.

"Antigua's all right, they dodged a bullet," Ogarro said.

Neighboring island Barbuda didn't fair as well.

"Our main concern right now is our sister island Barbuda," Ogarro's relative told him over the storm.

Ogarro said he hadn't been able to get in touch with any family or friends on that island.

"Big problem," Ogarro said. "They can't reach no one in Barbuda so that's a big concern."

The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, says residents on the islands were well prepared for the storm, however the massive hurricane quickly toppled trees and homes.

As evacuations from the island are difficult, Ogarro says there's not much his family can do when a hurricane approaches.

"You know the storm's coming. All you can do is pray and hope for the best," Ogarro said.

Ogarro is doing the same in New Orleans as he waits for more news.

"Wait and see what happens and hope," Ogarro said. "I'll leave it in the Lord's hands. He's got control."

© 2017 WWL-TV


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