Irma’s destruction: island by island

The category five hurricane has ripped through the Caribbean, leaving flattened landscapes, flash flood and loss of life

Antigua and Barbuda

Barbuda, the first island to feel the force of Hurricane Irma was devastated by its high winds, with Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, saying 90% of houses had been destroyed and 50% of the people of around 1,000 people left homeless.

One person- a two-year-old child- is confirmed to have died in the storm. Michael Joseph, president of the Red Cross in Antigua and Barbuda told 😛 TAGEND

The devastation is not like we’ve ever seen before- we’re talking about the whole country … of Barbuda being significantly destroyed.

Critical facilities including roads and communications systems were ravaged, with the recovery endeavor set to take months or years. Some residents are expected to be evacuated to the larger sister island of Antigua- where injury was less severe- as part of relief efforts and ahead of the prospective arrival of Hurricane Jose this weekend.

Browne said he would order the evacuation of Barbuda if forecasters predict that Jose will hit the island in the coming days.

Barbuda suffers’ unprecedented’ injury from Irma
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Anguilla

One person died in the British overseas territory, told Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean disaster and emergency management agency, who added that” police station, hospitals, school facilities, three or four emergency shelters, a home for the infirm and the aged, as well as the fire station”, along with many homes, had been damaged or destroyed.

UK foreign office minister Alan Duncan said:” The initial assessment is that the damage has been severe and in places critical .”

The tourist board told major resorts on the island had withstood the onslaught. The airport and two ports remain closed.

The British government has been accused of a failure to respond rapidly to the devastation. On Thursday, it announced an extra PS32m in aid and will send hundreds of marines and royal engineers, as well as HMS Ocean, currently deployed in the Mediterranean, which will take 10 to 14 days to reach the area.

St Kitts& Nevis

Prime minister Timothy Harris said St Kitts was ” spared the full brunt” of Irma, but warned of “significant damage” to property and infrastructure, as well as power failings. The airport reopened on Thursday. A hurricane warning and flash-flooding watch have been discontinued, and residents and visitors given the all-clear.

St Martin and St Barts

The French part of the island( the southern side, St Maarten, is administered by the Netherlands) was ” 95% destroyed “, according to Daniel Gibb, a local officer, who called it” an enormous misfortune “:

I have sick people to evacuate, I have a population to evacuate because I don’t know where I can shelter them.

Four people were killed in St Martin, according to French “ministers ” Edouard Philippe, who said 50 were injured during across the island and another French overseas collectivity, Saint Barthelemy( St Barts ). Power was cut across the island and many roads are impassable.

The number of victims on the Dutch half of the island, St Maarten, is unknown. Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte says there has been” enormous material damage” to St Maarten, and has sent marines and two assistance flights.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, earlier said he expected Irma-related damage caused to St Martin and St Barts would be ” considerable “. France’s overseas minister, Annick Girardin, travelled to the Caribbean with emergency squads and supplies.

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Storm Irma makes Saint Martin island- video

Virgin Islands

Significant damage has been reported from the British Virgin Islands, where critical facilities, as well as homes, businesses and supermarkets, have been devastated.

UK foreign minister Alan Duncan told:” The British Virgin Islands were also not spared the hurricane’s full force. Our initial appraisal is of severe damage and we expect that the islands will need extensive humanitarian assistance which we will of course provide .”

Sam Branson, son of Virgin tycoon Richard Branson- who insured out the blizzard in a bunker on his private island of Necker- said” a lot of buildings” had been destroyed.

Four people are confirmed to have died in the US Virgin Islands, with a government spokesman predicting the toll would rise. US president Donald Trump has declared a state of emergency and a major calamity. There were reports of extensive damage to buildings, and of land solely stripped of vegetation.

Many roads are inaccessible in the USVI, and schools are reported to be destroyed.

Puerto Rico

Lashing breezes and rainfalls have left more than a million people without power and tens of thousands without water. Images from the island demonstrated flash flooding, and hospitals were forced to rely on generators.

Three people- two women and a man- have been confirmed dead, and rescuers are searching for the missing. Waves of up to 30 feet( 9 metres) were reported. Several thousand people remain in emergency shelters.

Governor Ricardo Rossello has also proclaimed a disaster in the tiny islands of Culebra and Vieques, to Puerto Rico’s east, which were hard-hit by the cyclone. So far there has been little information from the islands.

Irma is the worst hurricane to reach the island since 1928, when Hurricane San Felipe killed more than 2,700 people across Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Florida.

Dominican Republic

Pictures from the Dominican Republic– where Irma passed to the north- prove widespread injury: flattened buildings, downed trees and power lines. The coastal resorts of Cabarete and Sosua were reported to have insured blizzard surges, and more than 5,000 people were evacuated across the country.

On Thursday, Juan Manuel Mendez, director of the centre of emergency operations, told people there should” not let down their guard … the worst isn’t over “.

Haiti

Irma continued its path across the north of Hispaniola- the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti- taking down a key bridge between the two. Heavy rains flailed the north coast and several areas lost power.

Two people were reportedly injured in the northern port town of Cap-Haitien when a tree crashed into their home.

Officials had admitted they were not prepared for the onslaught and no mandatory evacuation orders were in place ahead of Irma’s approach. But reports from Cap-Haitien so far suggest Haiti has been spared the worst effects of the category 5.

Turks and Caicos

Irma was ” pummelling” the British overseas territory on Thursday evening, the US National Hurricane Center told, with gales of 175 mph( 280 kmh ).

Governor John Freeman said some people had been moved to shelters ahead of the hurricane’s arrival, but warned others to 😛 TAGEND

Hunker down, stay where you are … Nobody can get to you either- people are, for a little while, on their own.

Electricity supplyings had failed on Grand Turk, which meant water production was also out, Freeman said.

Bahamas

Overnight on Thursday, the eye of the blizzard moved on to the southern Bahamas , passing only north of Great Inagua island. The US National Hurricane Center warned that cyclone surges could lift water levels in south-eastern and central Bahamas by 15 -2 0ft( 4.5 -6m) above normal levels.

Bahamas prime minister Hubert Minnis said his government had evacuated people from six islands in the south to the capital, Nassau, in the largest storm evacuation in the country’s history. Airports have been closed.

Where next?

A hurricane warning comes into force in Cuba , where tourists are being evacuated and residents of coastal townships told to move inland.

By late Saturday, Irma is forecast to hit Florida , where mandatory evacuation orders have already been issued for Florida Keys and swaths of southern and coastal Florida. All hospitals in the Florida Keys archipelago will close at 7am Friday, and coast guard and rescue services have left.

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