Hurricane Irma howled past Puerto Rico with 185mph winds after reducing the tiny tropical islands of Barbuda and St Martin to rubble and claiming at least ten lives.
The category 5 storm - the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic - left a trail of deadly devastation through the Caribbean when it struck on Wednesday on a potential collision course with south Florida.
Barbuda and St Martin suffered the storm’s full fury with roughly 95 per cent of properties destroyed on both islands. Officials said at least eight people died on the French part of St Martin - a pristine resort known for its vibrant nightlife.
‘It’s an enormous catastrophe. Ninety-five percent of the island is destroyed,’ top local official Daniel Gibbs said. ‘I’m in shock. It’s frighteningThe island, which is divided between the Netherlands and France, was left without drinking water or electricity and the death toll is expected to rise.
Barbuda, part of the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, also suffered ‘absolute devastation’ and is ‘barely habitable’ with more than 90 per cent of dwellings completely destroyed, a child killed and 60 per cent of the population left homeless.
Meanwhile, residents on the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla said the island was ‘utterly devastated’ and looked as though it had ‘suffered nuclear bomb devastation’.This morning, the United Nations said up to 49 million people are in the hurricane’s path as aid agencies prepare for a ‘major humanitarian response’.
(Daily Mail), 7 September 2017 -