Hurricane Irma bears down on Turks in addition to also Caicos islands

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Media captionNasa images on Thursday show the eye of Irma over the Dominican Republic in addition to also Haiti

Haiti in addition to also the Turks in addition to also Caicos islands have been preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma, which has left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean.

Poverty-stricken Haiti is actually seen as particularly vulnerable as its infrastructure has yet to recover via a devastating earthquake in 2010.

Low-lying Turks in addition to also Caicos is actually said to be at risk of a storm surge, with the possibility of destructive waves up to 6m (20ft) higher than usual.

Irma is actually a category a few hurricane.

This kind of is actually the highest possible level for a hurricane, in addition to also its winds are travelling at up to 185mph (290km/h). At least 10 people have already died inside region.

The smaller island of Barbuda is actually said to be “barely habitable”. Officials warn of which St Martin is actually almost destroyed, in addition to also the death toll is actually likely to rise.

Irma has passed the Dominican Republic in addition to also is actually today brushing Haiti. the idea is actually likely to hit the the Turks in addition to also Caicos on Thursday evening.

  • In pictures: Irma ravages Caribbean

the idea is actually predicted to reach Cuba next, before hitting the US state of Florida at the weekend, with the head of the US emergency agency predicting a “truly devastating” impact.

An estimated 1.2 million people have been affected by Irma in addition to also of which could rise sharply to 26 million, the Red Cross says.

There are concerns of which disease could spread rapidly in areas where drinking water in addition to also sanitation services have broken down.

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Media captionBefore in addition to also after: Stills in addition to also footage show St Martin then in addition to also today

The storm caused some damage to building in addition to also flooding as the idea approached Haiti, with rain in addition to also wind lashing the northern port city of Cap-Haitien.

“We’re asking all those living in areas at risk to leave their homes. If you don’t, you’ll be evacuated by force,” President Jovenel Moise said.

“When you go to shelters you’ll find food, you’ll have something to sleep on.”

Preparations for the arrival of Irma are carrying on inside Turks in addition to also Caicos, which features a population of about 35,000. Its highest point is actually only 50m (163ft).

Governor John Freeman said: “We have decided to evacuate certain islands which were particularly low-lying in addition to also at threat. We have commenced to fill our shelters because quite a few people who live in very low-lying areas are very vulnerable.

“We’ve also engaged in terms of getting people off the island who are here, North American tourists in addition to also others. “

  • How dangerous is actually This kind of storm?
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Virginia Clerveaux, director of the Turks in addition to also Caicos Department of Disaster Management in addition to also Emergencies, told the BBC of which even inland areas could be inundated by the storm surge.

“We are today trying to remind them [the people of the islands] of which This kind of is actually a category a few, in addition to also inside history of the Turks in addition to also Caicos islands This kind of is actually the largest storm we have ever been impacted or threatened by.

“So there is actually a need to ensure of which we have maximum preparations in place… We have been saying to persons to ensure of which they are prepared, ensure they can shelter safely, they have sufficient food in addition to also drinking water For two main to three days.”

Britain, France, in addition to also the Netherlands have sent ships, rescue teams in addition to also emergency supplies to their territories of which have been hit by Hurricane Irma.

  • UK increases hurricane relief fund
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Aid efforts are being hampered by damage to local airports in addition to also harbours.

Which are the worst-hit areas?

Hurricane Irma first struck the dual-island nation of Antigua in addition to also Barbuda. At least one death, of a child, was reported on Barbuda, where Prime Minister Gaston Browne said about 95% of the buildings had suffered some damage.

“the idea’s absolute devastation,” he said after flying over the island, home to some 1,0 people. “The island is actually literally under water. In fact, I’m of the view of which, as the idea stands today, Barbuda is actually barely habitable.”

He told the BBC of which 50% of the Barbuda population were today homeless in addition to also of which the idea could cost $100m (£80m) to rebuild the island.

However, Antigua, which has a population of 80,000, escaped major damage, with no loss of life.

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Media captionThe island of Barbuda is actually “barely habitable”, says PM Gaston Browne

St Martin, an island of which comprises the French territory of Saint-Martin in addition to also the Dutch section Sint-Maarten, suffered terrible damage.

French officials have confirmed at least four deaths in Saint-Martin, down via an earlier reported death toll of eight. More than 50 people were injured. Dutch authorities reported one death in addition to also many injuries.

  • Hurricane Irma: A visual guide

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 60% of homes had been made uninhabitable.

Sint-Maarten’s airport, the third largest inside Caribbean, has been seriously damaged.

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Media captionAerial footage via the Dutch ministry of defence revealed the extent of the devastation in Sint-Maarten

At least three people had died in Puerto Rico, the governor’s office said.

The US territory’s capital, San Juan, saw waves of up to 30ft. More than 6,000 residents are in shelters, in addition to also many more are without power.

Where else has been hit?

British overseas territories Anguilla in addition to also the British Virgin Islands were also caught inside extreme weather.

A state of emergency has been declared inside British Virgin Islands, in addition to also governor Gus Jaspert said there were reports of casualties in addition to also fatalities.

At least one death has been reported on Anguilla, a local official confirmed.

One Anguilla resident told the BBC the island looked as if the idea had been struck by a nuclear bomb, with roofs torn off many of the main buildings, including the hospital.

What the US can expect

Irma is actually likely to hit Florida as a category four hurricane on Sunday, bringing storm surges in addition to also flooding.

“If you look at the size of This kind of storm, the idea’s huge,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Thursday. “the idea’s wider than our entire state in addition to also could cause major in addition to also life-threatening impacts on both coasts – coast to coast.”

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Media captionPeople in Florida prepare for Hurricane Irma

US President Donald Trump said: “I can say This kind of: Florida is actually as well prepared as you can be for something like This kind of. today the idea’s just a question of what happens.”

  • How do you calculate the cost of a hurricane?

Evacuations of tourists in addition to also residents of the Florida Keys, a resort archipelago, have begun.

Flights to in addition to also via airports in Florida are being suspended. Orlando’s international airport said commercial flights could stop via 17:00 local time on Saturday.


Islands still at risk via Irma

Haiti

  • Population: 10.2 million
  • Key facts: on the same island as the Dominican Republic; devastated by an earthquake in 2010
  • Hurricane prediction: not directly inside hurricane’s path, although still vulnerable

Turks in addition to also Caicos

  • Population: 31,500
  • Key facts: enjoys one of the more dynamic economies inside region thanks to upmarket tourism, offshore finance in addition to also fishing
  • Hurricane prediction: the low-lying region is actually at risk of a storm surge with destructive waves up to 6m (20ft) higher than usual possible

Cuba

  • Population: 11 million
  • Key facts: one of the earth’s last planned economies; a producer of sugar, tobacco in addition to also coffee, which has a big tourism industry
  • Hurricane prediction: Tropical storm conditions likely to begin on Thursday night (local time)

Bahamas

  • Population: 350,000
  • Key facts: an archipelago of more than 700 islands in addition to also islets, which attracts millions of tourists per year
  • Hurricane prediction: warnings for north-west, south-east in addition to also centre; some areas have risk of storm surge of up to 6m (20ft)

Are there more hurricanes to come?

Another storm, Jose, further out inside Atlantic behind Irma, has been upgraded to category three hurricane strength, according to the US National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters say Jose is actually likely to pass close to the Leeward islands, a collective name for islands via Dominica to Puerto Rico. Its exact path is actually as yet unclear, however, the idea may hit areas already devastated by Irma.

Storm Katia, inside Gulf of Mexico, was also upgraded to hurricane status, in addition to also a warning was in effect for the coast of the Mexican state of Veracruz.


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