Hurricane Irma pummels Turks and Caicos Islands

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September 08, 2017

Howling winds and rough seas battered the British overseas territory, experiencing a top-rated category five hurricane for the first time.

Some 500,000 people were told to leave south Florida with Irma due on Sunday. The hurricane has been downgraded to a category four, but officials warn that it remains "extremely dangerous".

The US National Weather Service says that Irma was expected to bring wind speeds of around 165mph (270km/h) over the weekend.

An estimated 1.2 million people have been affected by Irma and that could rise sharply to 26 million, the Red Cross says.

There are concerns that disease could spread rapidly in areas where drinking water and sanitation services have broken down, and officials have warned that the death toll is likely to rise.

Where is Irma - and where next?

Irma has passed through Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands and is projected to move towards Cuba and the Bahamas.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit east and central Cuba, with the eye of the storm predicted to pass between the north coast of Cuba and the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

About 50,000 tourists are fleeing or have fled Cuba, with resorts on the north coast now empty, Reuters reports.

Which areas have already been hit?

The Turks and Caicos Islands: widespread damage, although extent unclear

Barbuda: the small island is said to be "barely habitable", with 95% of the buildings damaged. Prime Minister Gaston Browne estimates reconstruction will cost $100m (£80m). One death has been confirmed

St Martin: the island that comprises the French territory of Saint-Martin and the Dutch section Sint-Maarten suffered terrible damage. Five people have been killed

Puerto Rico: more than 6,000 residents of the US territory are in shelters and many more without power. At least three people have died

US Virgin Islands: damage to infrastructure was said to be widespread, with four deaths confirmed

Anguilla: one resident said the island, a British overseas territory, looked as if it had been struck by a nuclear bomb. One person has died

British Virgin Islands: a state of emergency has been declared and fatalities are expected Haiti and the Dominican Republic: Both battered by the storm, but neither had as much damage as initially feared What the US can expect

News date : 09/08/2017    Category : Hurricane, About Bahamians, Caribbean News, Press Releases

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