Hurricane Irma slams across Caribbean, wreaks devastation

World Today

This Sept. 7, 2017 photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Maarten. Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees. Significant damage was reported on the island that is split between French and Dutch control. (Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP)

Hurricane Irma, still a dangerous Category Five storm, struck several Caribbean islands, causing massive destruction and killing multiple people. The worst is not over yet though, as the storm continues to roar through the Atlantic.

Forecasters say Irma is expected to directly hit the U.S. mainland this weekend.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

One of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma is tearing through the Caribbean leaving a trail of devastation. Anguilla, St. Martin, Antigua, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands all felt Irma’s wrath.

But the tiny island of Barbuda was hammered the hardest by the Category 5 hurricane. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda called the damage unprecedented carnage.

“What I saw was heart-wrenching,” said Gaston Brown, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. “I mean, absolutely devastating. In fact, I believe that on a per capita basis, the extent of the destruction in Barbuda is unprecedented. And it is unprecedented.”

It’s estimated that 95 percent of Barbuda’s buildings were damaged at a cost of at least $100 million. And this is just the beginning.

Hurricane Irma is now breaking records: no other storm in history has ever kept top winds of 300 kilometers per hour for so long.

French authorities say Irma battered St. Martin, tearing buildings apart, killing at least four people and injuring 50. Heavy containers were strewn like toys across the port.

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said Irma collapsed fire and police stations, hammering the main hospital in St. Thomas. Authorities continue to hand out emergency food and water.

The UK government says Irma inflicted “severe and in places critical” damage to the British territory of Anguilla.

In terms of total damage and deaths so far, it’s still too soon to say as these small Caribbean islands continue to count the cost of Irma.

All of this destruction and two more active hurricanes, Katia and Jose, have now appeared in the Atlantic basin. Antigua and Barbuda are bracing for Hurricane Jose’s possible approach on Saturday.

Puerto Rico spared Irma’s full wrath, priority now recovery