BREAKING: Hurricane Irma: Massive damage across Caribbean as death toll rises
🚨 BREAKING: Hurricane Irma 🌪️: Massive damage 😱 across Caribbean as death 💐 toll rises 📈 - 📹
*The eye of Hurricane Irma*,* still a category 5 storm with sustained winds of 180mph (290kph), moved westward off the northern coast of Hispaniola *on Thursday morning, its winds raking the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The storm’s projected path Thursday brings it almost directly over the British possessions of Turks and Caicos, followed by a course near the southern Bahamas.
*At least nine people have been confirmed dead in the wake of the storm, and as many as 13 reported killed.* The confirmed fatalities include an infant on Barbuda, one person in Anguilla, three people in Puerto Rico, and four in the French territory of St Martin.
*Thousands more remain in shelters, their homes damaged or destroyed* In Puerto Rico, almost a million people are without power and 50,000 without water, according to the US territory’s department of emergency relief.
*Southern Florida was placed on hurricane watch* with warnings that storm surges of five to 10ft could begin in the next 48 hours. The National Weather Service warned residents that winds and floods could make buildings “uninhabitable for weeks or months”, and authorities raced to bring fuel to areas with shortages.
*“Every Florida family must be prepared to evacuate regardless of the coast you live on* governor Rick Scott said, stressing the gigantic scale of the storm. “We can rebuild your home but we cannot rebuild your life.
*The storm is expected to hit the Florida Keys on Friday night and make landfall on the mainland early Saturday,* though it remains unclear where exactly the hurricane will hit the mainland. The Keys will have no rescue services or hospitals from Friday onward, authorities warned.
*On Barbuda, prime minister Gaston Browne said Irma had made 90% of the tiny island’s structures “literally rubble”* and that half the population was homeless. On French-administered St Martin, local councilman Daniel Gibbs told a local radio station “95% of the island is destroyed. French authorities have sent naval ships with supplies to the island.
*In Haiti and the Dominican Republican, authorities closed all schools.* Haitian president Jovenal Moïse urged people in rural areas to head to shelters and out of the mountains. “The hurricane is not a game,” he said in a television address. On the Bahamas, prime minister Hubert Minnis ordered people to leave six southern islands, the largest evacuation in the country’s history.
Already one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record, *Irma held sustained winds of 185mph for over 24 hours before it slowed to its current speed,* making it the most enduring hurricane since the 1960s when satellite monitoring began. President Donald Trump has declared states of emergency in the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Florida.
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