Tsunami alert for Puerto Rico after 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Caribbean

Warning center recommends action to be taken in disaster-hit British and US Virgin Islands too after powerful quake

A tsunami alert has been issued for Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands after a 7.6 -magnitude earthquake struck in a region still reeling from two hurricanes.

The US Tsunami Warning Center said waves up to a metre above tidal levels is achievable in the hours after the quake struck north of Honduras at 10.52 pm local hour on Tuesday. The earthquake was very shallow, at merely 6.2 miles( 10 km ).

The center afterward said preliminary forecasts indicated no tsunami threat for Puerto Rico and the Virgin islands but were awaiting more information.

Resident were still advised to take immediate action to protect human life and property.

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre was 125 miles( 202 km) north-east of Barra Patuca in Honduras and 191 miles( 307 km) south-west of George Town in the Cayman Islands.

NWS San Juan (@ NWSSanJuan)

11: 22 pm Recommended actions: persons located in/ near the ocean should move out of the waters, off the beach and away from the harbor.

Acciones recomendadas: personas cerca o en el agua deben alejarse de las aguas, fuera de las playas y alejados de los puertos.

January 10, 2018

The quake rattled windows in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa approximately 323 miles( 519 km) to the east, but no damage was immediately reported.

This is a developing tale, please check back for updates .

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Caribbean faces fresh devastation as category 5 Hurricane Maria hits islands

Eye of blizzard expected to pass near Dominica on Monday evening with hurricane set to hit eastern islands still struggling after Hurricane Irma

The Caribbean island of Dominica has been” brutalised and devastated” by category 5 Hurricane Maria, the prime minister of the country has said.

The eyewall of the hurricane barrelled into Dominica’s eastern coast on Monday evening, crossing towards the former British colony’s capital, Roseau, on the south-west side.

Hurricane Maria had intensified into different categories 5 storm as it barrelled towards Dominica. It is expected to move towards the eastern Caribbean islands still working to provide basic food, water and health services to the regions hard hit by Hurricane Irma.

The US National Hurricane Center( NHC) said the” major hurricane” was already creating maximum sustained gales of 160 miles per hour and would strengthen further over the next two days.

Roosevelt Skerrit, the prime minister of Dominica, experienced the force of the hurricane first hand. He posted on his official Facebook page that the wind had ripped the roof off his house and wrote he was ” at the complete compassion of the hurricane “.

After he was rescued from the property, he told Caracas-based TV station Telesur that the island had been “brutalised” and “devastated” by Maria.

” In the morning we will know how many dead there are ,” he said.

Earlier, residents of the island, which escaped Hurricane Irma, had flocked to supermarkets to stock up on essentials as officials advised people living in low-lying areas or along rivers to move to high ground.

The island’s airport and ports were closed, and the local water company shut down its systems to protect its intake valves from rubble churned up by the cyclone. The government opened all shelters.

Late on Monday, a police official, inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said there were no immediate the reporting of casualties but it was still too dangerous for officers to do a full appraisal as the blizzard raged outside.

” Where “weve been”, we can’t move ,” he said in a brief phone interview.

” It’s really a desperate situation ,” said Chamberlain Emanuel, head of the environment commission at the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States( OESC ).

In a telephone interview from St Lucia, Emanuel said the incoming blizzard threatened to slow the recovery from Irma. The scale of the extermination left by that hurricane is becoming clearer by the hour as communications systems are restored across the region.” We’re trying to be resilient but the vulnerability is just too high ,” he said.

Irma, also different categories 5 hurricane, left about 40 people dead in the Caribbean before veering towards Florida, where at least 20 people died.

The NHC cautioned Hurricane Maria could make a” dangerous cyclone upsurge accompanied by large and destructive waves” that would create water levels by as much as 9ft( 2.7 metres) as it approached approached the French province of Guadeloupe, the base for relief operations for several islands were destroyed by Irma this month.

Islanders on nearby Martinique were ordered to stay indoors under a maximum-level “violet” alert. And the energy supplier EDF said power had been cut off from 10,000 homes on the island, which has a population of 400, 000.

Up to 20 in of rain could drench the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands through Wednesday night- conditions that could cause life-threatening floods and mudslides.

Officials in Puerto Rico advised residents of wooden or otherwise flimsy homes to find safe shelter.

” You have to evacuate. Otherwise you’re going to die ,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner.” I don’t know how to make this any clearer .”

Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and the British island of Montserrat are also on alert.

Emanuel said the region needed help from the entire international community because the small islands have few resources.” The force-out of the wind from that category 5-plus cyclone was truly something that was unprecedented and “theyre not” ready for ,” he said.

Criticised for the pace of relief efforts in their overseas territories devastated by Irma, Britain, France and the Netherlands said they were boosting resources for the Caribbean as Maria approached.

” We are planning for the unexpected, we are planning for the worst ,” said Chris Austin, head of a UK military taskforce set up to deal with Irma, as the British Virgin Islands readied for the storm.

On the island of St Martin, which is split between France and the Netherlands, the Red Cross flew in 11 tonnes of aid from the Dutch mainland on Sunday, including urgently needed materials to replace roofs ripped off by Irma.

Although Hurricane Irma did not make landfall on mainland Puerto Rico, its after consequences are still being feel. For some, the electricity returned only a few days after the blizzard, while others in neighborhoods like Old San Juan, Miramar, and Hato Rey have only just had their power turned on over the weekend and some still have no power at all.
In Santurce, one of the biggest neighborhoods in San Juan, residents could be seen on Monday preparing for the latest blizzard, tying down and securing large potted plants and satellite dishes, and preparing wooden committees that will eventually protect the windows of homes and industries.
Gas stations began to get busy over the afternoon with four or five cars awaiting at every pump. The local Walmart was mobbed with people stocking up on water, soft drink, chips, canned food, and batteries.

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Before and after Hurricane Irma: images of Caribbean destruction

Photos show impact of category 5 storm on Caribbean islands, including St Martin and British Virgin Islands

The category 5 Hurricane Irma has ripped through the Caribbean, causing deaths, flash foods and flattened landscapes.

Before and after images show the devastation that Irma has wrought on the British Virgin Islands and St Martin, including the Dutch half of the island called Sint Maarten.

Irma is expected to continue on to Cuba, where a hurricane warning is in place and tourists are being encouraged to leave, and it could reach Florida by late Saturday.

Casino Royale, Sint Maarten

Casino Royale, Sint Maarten
Before image: Google Earth/Guy R
After image: Anna Mazur/AFP/Getty

Airport, St Martin

Airport Sint Maarten
Before image: Google Earth
After image: Avalon.red

Paraquita Bay, British Virgin Islands

Paraquita Bay, British Virgin Islands
Before image: Morrelli & Melvin Design and Engineering in Newport Beach
After image: Reuters

Sint Maarten port

Sint Maarten Port
Before image: Google Earth
After image: Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

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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
Map

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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