Fearsome Hurricane Irma cut a path of devastation across the northern Caribbean, leaving at least 10 dead and thousands homeless after destroying buildings and uprooting trees on a track Thursday that could lead to a catastrophic strike on Florida.
The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, Irma weakened only slightly Thursday morning and remained a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph (285 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
The latest on Irma from CGTN in Puerto Rico:
Authorities struggled to get aid to small Caribbean islands devastated by the storm’s record 185 mph (298 kph) winds. Communications were difficult with areas hit by Irma, and information on damage trickled out.
French authorities and NGO’s are bringing equipment are bringing teams and equipment to Guadeloupe before dispatching them to affected areas once the reconnaissance missions are over, in the next hours.
Jean Christophe Conmbe, president of the French Red Cross said most of their teams are in Guadeloupe with others coming in from French Guyana and Martinique to help the operation.
The U.S. National Hurricane Centre predicted Irma would remain at Category 4 or 5 for the next day or two as it passes just to the north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday, nears the Turks & Caicos and parts of the Bahamas by Thursday night and skirts Cuba on Friday night into Saturday.
It will then likely head north toward Florida, where people were rushing to board up homes, fill cars with gasoline and find a route to safety.
The island of Saint Martin has been left badly damaged following a direct hit by Hurricane Irma.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told Franc Info that at least eight people died and another 23 were injured when the monstrous storm walloped the French Caribbean island territories of Saint Martin and St. Barthelemy.
That number is expected to rise.
The island is part French, part Dutch. The Dutch government is holding a crisis meeting about the damage to its part, St. Maarten.
Authorities are struggling to get aid to small Caribbean islands devastated by the storm’s record 185 mph (298 kph) winds.
Nearly every building on Barbuda was also damaged when the hurricane’s core crossed almost directly over the island early Wednesday and about 60 percent of its roughly 1,400 residents were left homeless according to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
He said roads and telecommunications systems were wrecked and recovery would take months, if not years. A 2-year-old child was killed as a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm.
Story by the Associated Press