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Hurricane Irma strikes Caribbean nations, kills six

At least six people have been killed in the French part of the Caribbean island St Martin after Hurricane Irma tore through the region, Guadeloupe prefect Eric Maire said Wednesday.

“This is not the final toll. We sadly risk further discoveries,” Maire told journalists. The previous toll given by France’s overseas ministry was two dead and two seriously injured on the eastern Caribbean islands St Barts and St Martin.

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

The record-breaking storm has plowed through the French Caribbean, leaving destruction in its wake. From France to the US, officials have warned that the Category 5 storm may be disastrous.

The French minister for overseas affairs, Annick Girardin, was to fly to Guadeloupe late Wednesday 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 Macron said, adding that he expected damage on St Barts and St Martin to be “considerable”.

St Martin (“Sint Maarten” in Dutch), located south of the island of Anguilla, is divided between the Netherlands and France.

St Barts (“Saint Barthelemy” in French), 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.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station shared images of the storm as they passed overhead.

Social media users shared images of the storm and its aftermath from the various Caribbean islands it hit.

 

 

US President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, saying Irma “looks like it could be something that could be not good, believe me, not good.”

-AFP

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