• Saturday, Oct 01, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Monstrous Hurricane Irma kills 14 in Caribbean, heads for Florida

  • Published at 02:51 am September 8th, 2017
  • Last updated at 09:44 am September 8th, 2017
Monstrous Hurricane Irma kills 14 in Caribbean, heads for Florida
Residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday hunkered down for Hurricane Irma, which has smashed through a string of Caribbean islands as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, killing at least 14 people en route to Florida. With winds of around 300km per hour the storm the size of France has ravaged small islands in the northeast Caribbean in recent days, including Barbuda, Saint Martin and the British and US Virgin Islands, ripping down trees and flattening homes and hospitals. [arve url="https://www.reuters.com/assets/iframe/yovideo?videoId=372488822" /] Winds dipped on Thursday to 280kmph as the Irma soaked the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and brought hurricane-force wind to the Turks and Caicos Islands. It remained an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm, the highest designation by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Irma was about 65km south of Turks and Caicos and is expected to reach the Bahamas later Thursday, before moving to Cuba and plowing into southern Florida as a very powerful Category 4 on Sunday, with storm surges and flooding due to begin within the next 48 hours. Across the Caribbean authorities rushed to evacuate tens of thousands of residents and tourists in the path of the storm, while on islands in its wake, shocked locals tried to comprehend the extent of the devastation while simultaneously preparing for another major hurricane, Jose, currently a Category 3 and due to hit the northeastern Caribbean on Saturday. It was the first time the Turks and Caicos islands had experienced a Category 5 storm, said Virginia Clerveaux, director of Disaster Management and Emergencies. "We are expecting inundation from both rainfall as well as storm surge. And we may not be able to come rescue them in a timely manner," she said in comments broadcast on Facebook. The few tourists who remained on the Turks and Caicos islands were in hotels, as were some locals. "Right now I‘m at the hotel with my family. There are a lot of people in the hotel. It's boarded up," said island resident Sofia Simmons, speaking from the Royal West Indies Hotel on Providenciales island. "Most of our shelters are packed to capacity. We had to open more shelters." Florida emergency management officials began evacuations, ordering tourists to leave the Keys. Gas shortages in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area worsened on Thursday, with sales up to five times the norm. In Miami, hundreds of people lined up for bottled water and cars looped around city blocks to get gas in panicked preparations for Irma. "To the people of Florida, we just want you to protect yourselves, be very vigilant and careful," said US President Donald Trump, who owns the waterfront Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida as well as a property on the French side of Saint Martin, an island devastated by the storm. A mandatory evacuation on Georgia's Atlantic coast was due to begin on Saturday, Governor Nathan Deal said.

Deaths rise

In the US Virgin islands, four people died, a government spokesman said, and a major hospital was badly damaged by the wind. A US amphibious assault ship arrived in the US Virgin Islands on Thursday and sent helicopters for medical evacuations from the destroyed hospital. Barbuda, where one person died, was reduced "to rubble", according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne. In the British overseas territory of Anguilla another person was killed, while the hospital and airport, power and phone services were damaged, emergency service officials said. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said four bodies were recovered on the tiny French-Dutch island of Saint Martin, which was hit hard. "It is an enormous disaster. 95% of the island is destroyed. I am in shock," Daniel Gibbs, chairman of a local council on Saint Martin, told Radio Caribbean International. Television footage from the island showed a damaged marina with boats tossed into piles, submerged streets and flooded homes. French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday to coordinate an emergency humanitarian response. Three people were killed in Puerto Rico and around two-thirds of the population lost their electricity, Governor Ricardo Rossello said after the storm rolled by the US territory's northern coast. A surfer was also reported killed in Barbados.

Cuba evacuating tourist

The storm passed just to the north of the Hispaniola island shared by Dominican Republic and Haiti, causing some damage to roofs, flooding and power outages as it approached the impoverished Haitian side of the island, which is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and rain, although it did not make landfall. While the strongest winds should not hit Haiti, authorities and aid agencies were bracing for heavy rainfall from the storm just 145km north of the coast, which could cause deadly landslides and flooding. Cuba started evacuating some of the 51,000 tourists visiting the island, particularly 36,000 people at resorts on the picturesque northern coast. That included all Canadian tourists, who Cuban Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero estimated made up 60% of foreign visitors in the country's keys. In Caibarien, a town in the hurricane's predicted path, residents secured roofs with sandbags. Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean and one of the five most forceful storms to hit the Atlantic basin in 82 years, according to the NHC. The storm activity comes after Harvey claimed about 60 lives and caused property damage estimated to be as much as $180 billion in Texas and Louisiana.
50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail