Officials announced at least 10 deaths in the Caribbean from the staggering impacts of Hurricane Irma, which has reportedly left several islands devastated.
While speaking to France Info radio, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said eight deaths have been reported and at least 23 more were injured in the country’s Caribbean island territories, as reported by the Associated Press. Deaths have also been reported on the islands of Anguilla and Barbuda.
The powerful Category 5 hurricane made a direct hit on the island of Barbuda, home to some 1,800 residents, at about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning. Prime Minister Gaston Browne confirmed that a 2-year-old child died while the family attempted to escape a damaged home during the storm.
Barbuda’s sister island was sideswiped by the hurricane but received minimal structural damage.
According to the Antigua Met Service, three injuries have been reported.
St. Martin and St. Barts
Roofs were ripped off and power was knocked out on both Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, known as St. Barts. The fire station in St. Barts, was flooded with more than 3 feet of water, making it impossible for rescue vehicles to leave the station, and the government headquarters on St. Martin was partially destroyed.
St. Martin is home to 75,000 residents and St. Barts, 9,200.
Images posted on social media showed widespread flooding and destroyed homes. The island’s Princess Juliana International Airport appears to have suffered major damage.
British Virgin Islands
The storm descended on the British Virgin Islands Wednesday afternoon, with wind gusts measuring 110 mph. The islands are home to more than 20,000 residents.
Richard Branson, the head of the Virgin Group, who rode out the storm on Necker Island, said says he and friends have “experienced a night of howling wind and rain”.
The United Kingdom announced Thursday morning that the damage on the island was “severe and, in many places, critical”.
One death was reported on the island, and 90 percent of the roads are impassable, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said.
Officials began ordering evacuations in flood-prone and high-risk areas of the country Wednesday ahead of the storm.
President Jovenel Moïse urged everyone to get to safety once Irma arrived.
“The hurricane is not a game,” said Moïse.
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