Hurricane Irma killed at least eight people on Saint Martin, destroying 95 percent of the Franco-Dutch island. It’s believed the storm caused at least 10 deaths regionally.
As one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, Irma also wreaked havoc in Antigua and Barbuda, turning roads into rivers
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told local network ABS TV on Wednesday (6 September) that as it stands, the island of Barbuda was “barely habitable” after being slammed by deadly Hurricane Irma.
“I have to admit that now I am the bearer of bad news in that I journeyed to Barbuda this afternoon. And what I saw was heart-wrenching. I mean, absolutely devastating,” Mr. Browne said. “In fact, I believe that on a per capita basis, the extent of the destruction in Barbuda is unprecedented. And it is unprecedented. Based on the type of storm. I mean, Hurricane Irma would have been easily the most powerful hurricane to have stormed through the Caribbean, and it is extremely unfortunate that Barbuda was right in its path.”
Browne surveyed the extent of the damage on Wednesday afternoon and said that contingency plans were in place to evacuate the tiny island to main island Antigua as Hurricane Jose, trailing Irma, approaches.
“You know that we threatened now, potentially, by yet another storm hurricane. And if that is the case, and it’s coming our way, then clearly we will have to evacuate the residents of Barbuda,” Mr. Browne said. “In fact, I’m of the view that as it stands now that Barbuda is barely habitable. And if we have yet another storm coming in a matter of days, we will have to make special arrangements to evacuate all Barbudans and bring them over here (to Antigua) until we can restore some level of normalcy.”
The storm slammed Puerto Rico’s capital San Juan with hurricane force winds and rain. At least half of the homes and businesses there are without power, according to reports on Twitter.
The deadly hurricane now churns toward Florida, expected to make landfall this weekend.
Tens of thousands of Floridians and tourists evacuating, some swarming to Miami International Airport, where reports have surfaced of tickets being sold at exorbitant prices.
Others are hitting the road to escape the ugly weather —cars lining up at gas stations all across Central Florida — stocking up on fuel in case of an emergency.
Grocery stores in Florida also experiencing a shortage of supplies.
Florida Governor Rick Scott warns residents that Irma could be even worse than Hurricane Andrew, which devastated the state in 1992.
The storm was expected to remain at least a category four before arriving in Florida.