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Death and destruction as Hurricane Irma's 290 km/h winds tear through Caribbean islands

The storm is the most powerful ever seen in the Atlantic.

Source: CNN/YouTube

THE FRENCH PART of the Caribbean island St Martin is “95% destroyed” after Hurricane Irma tore through the region, according to officials.

“It’s an enormous catastrophe, 95% of the island is destroyed. I’m in shock. It’s frightening,” said local official Daniel Gibbs, a former French lawmaker, speaking on Radio Caribbean International.

The island is in need of emergency assistance, he said. “I have sick people to evacuate, I have a population to evacuate because I don’t know where I can shelter them,” he said.

At least eight people have been killed in the French part of St Martin, Guadeloupe prefect Eric Maire said.

Another person was killed in the island of Barbuda.

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, cut a deadly swath through a string of small Caribbean islands yesterday.

The French minister for overseas affairs, Annick Girardin, was to fly to Guadeloupe last night with emergency teams and supplies to assess the situation, the ministry said.

“It’s too soon for casualty figures (but) I can already tell you the toll will be harsh and cruel,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, adding that he expected damage on St Barts and St Martin to be “considerable”.

St Martin, located south of the island of Anguilla, is divided between the Netherlands and France.

St Barts, which lies to the southeast of St Martin, is administered with the status of a French collectivity, as is the French part of St Martin.

Source: CNN/YouTube

In the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda, the monster hurricane killed one person and left behind “total devastation”, authorities said.

“It is just total devastation, Barbuda now is literally rubble,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in the aftermath of the monster Category Five storm.

Speaking later on CNN, Browne said that 95% of properties in Barbuda were damaged, with up to 30% demolished.

Emergency management office spokesman Midcie Francis added in a statement that one person died and that the damage was extensive.

© – AFP 2017

Read: Hurricane Irma claims its first two lives – and TWO more massive storms are brewing over the Atlantic >

Read: People urged to take shelter as the most powerful Atlantic storm in history starts to hit >

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