Hurricane Irma: What we know

By AFP   September 12, 2017 | 08:21 am GMT+7
Hurricane Irma: What we know
Waves crash against the seawall in Puerto Rico on Wednesday as Hurricane Irma slams across islands in the northern Caribbean. Photo by Reuters/Alvin Baez

Here is a roundup of the effects of the storm that has claimed dozens of lives and wreaked havoc that will cost billions of dollars to repair.

Irma, once a deadly hurricane in the Caribbean, weakened Monday as residents in Florida and across the region surveyed the widespread damage and dealt with heavy floods.

Irma's toll 

As of late Monday, the death toll was around 40. Fourteen were killed on the French island of Saint Barthelemy and the neighboring Dutch-French island of Saint Martin, at least 10 in Cuba, six in the British Caribbean islands, at least four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, at least two in Puerto Rico, one in Barbuda and at least one in Haiti.

Two deaths occurred in Florida due to car accidents.

U.S. forecaster AccuWeather said the combined economic cost of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma could reach $290 billion.

Barbuda 

Irma first made landfall on Barbuda on Wednesday as a Category 5 hurricane, with winds of up to 180 miles (290 kilometers) per hour. The island suffered "absolute devastation," with 30 percent of properties demolished and 99 percent of buildings damaged.

A child died on the island of 1,600 residents, and 1,413 people were evacuated to Antigua.

Saint Martin, Saint Barthelemy and Anguilla 

St Martin -- divided between France and the Netherlands -- and Saint Barthelemy were also hit on Wednesday.

France said 10 people died on its side, while the Netherlands said the storm killed four on the Dutch side, called Sint Maarten, where 70 percent of the infrastructure has been destroyed.

France's state-owned reinsurer CCR estimates damage on the two islands at $1.4 billion.

France and the Netherlands are rushing in logistical support, as well as hundreds of extra police amid reports of looting.

French aid includes helicopters, engineering equipment, medical supplies and a million liters (265,000 gallons) of water.

French President Emmanuel Macron travels to Saint Martin on Tuesday, and Dutch King Willem-Alexander was visiting Sint Maarten.

In the British archipelago of Anguilla, one man was crushed to death in a house.

Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico 

Five people were killed in the British Virgin Islands.

Just east of Puerto Rico, it is home to roughly 28,000 people and includes British billionaire Richard Branson's Necker Island.

At least four were killed in the US Virgin Islands, and at least two were killed in the US territory of Puerto Rico, with more than half of its three million residents without power.

Dominican Republic, Haiti 

Around 20,000 people were evacuated in the Dominican Republic, the eastern part of Hispaniola island, which is shared with Haiti.

Irma caused at least one fatality, with another person missing, but passed further north than had been feared.

Authorities said 5,000 houses flooded, while 8,000 families were declared disaster victims after their homes were severely damaged or destroyed.

Cuba 

Cubans reported "deafening" winds, uprooted trees and power lines, and rooftops blown off after Irma made landfall Friday as a maximum-strength Category 5 storm.

Enormous waves lashed the Malecon, Havana's emblematic seafront, and residents were waist-deep in floodwaters after Irma forced the evacuation of more than a million people.

Havana residents remained without water supplies and phone connections and schools were closed until further notice.

Florida 

More than four million homes were without power throughout Florida and more than six million people had been ordered to flee their homes.

Florida Governor Rick Scott said Irma's storm surge saw many areas inundated, including historic levels in at least three counties.

Power lines were down across the state, with 65 percent of homes without electricity, and many roads were impassable due to debris.

The military was helping in relief operations, with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier arriving off Florida late Sunday to help in the southern part of the state and along the Florida Keys.

Irma: Where next? 

Warnings of hazardous storm surges persisted in several areas as Irma's center moved over southwestern Georgia after passing by the northwestern coast of Florida.

The National Hurricane Center warned of possible tornadoes along the South Carolina coast overnight.

A state of emergency has been declared in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

Hurricanes Jose, Katia 

A weakening Hurricane Jose passed north of Saint Barthelemy and Saint Martin over the weekend, despite earlier fears the islands would suffer a second storm within days.

Another hurricane, Katia, made landfall in eastern Mexico late Friday, killing two people.

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