Hurricane Irma has caused considerable damage on French island territories in the Caribbean this morning. The storm has killed at least nine people so far, most of them in the French Caribbean. At least two people have died on the island of St Barts, and six people lost their lives on St Martin. An infant in Barbuda was killed as the child’s mother tried to escape their home during the storm.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne described the destruction on Barbuda is unprecedented in a television interview. He estimated that 60 per cent of the island’s population has been left homeless. He added that Barbuda is barely habitable and it now is literally a rubble. Barbuda, which sits between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, is mostly flat, at most 125 feet above sea level, and is home to about 1,600 people.
The category five hurricane, the highest possible level, is now passing over the northern Virgin Islands. The most powerful storm in a decade, Irma, with its winds as powerful as 290 kilometres per hour, is nearing the island of Puerto Rico and is also forecast to hit Florida on Saturday night.