UNITED NATIONS -- Two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro is at the United Nations to appeal to all countries and organizations to help rebuild the devastated Caribbean island of Barbuda and ensure that "paradise is not lost."
De Niro spoke Monday at a hastily called meeting on Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history. The meeting of top UN officials and government leaders from several hard-hit Caribbean countries came ahead of the annual global gathering of the world's leaders at the UN General Assembly that opens Tuesday.
Irma wreaked havoc in the Caribbean earlier this month, including damaging or destroying an estimated 90 percent of the structures on the small island of Barbuda where the actor co-owns a resort.
De Niro recalled Barbuda as an "unspoiled beauty, a paradise found" on his first visit many years ago. Now, he said, "we have a humanitarian crisis, an entire island destroyed."
He told the meeting: "We must act together to help the most vulnerable. The recovery process will be a long, hard road. ... Working together with all of you, Barbuda can rise to be stronger and be more resilient." (AP)