September 6, 2017
Mass evacuations are underway today after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Caribbean with 185mph winds as aid agencies braced for a ‘major humanitarian response’.
America’s National Hurricane Center said Irma had strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm as it made its first landfall in islands of northeast Caribbean on a path that could take it to the United States – causing thousands to start panic buying and preparing to evacuate.
This morning, the eye of the ‘potentially catastrophic’ hurricane – estimated to be the size of France – lashed Barbuda just hours after officials warned people to seek protection from Irma’s ‘onslaught’ in a statement that closed with: ‘May God protect us all.’
Heavy rain and howling winds from the hurricane – measured as the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean – also raked Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.
Officials said the French islands Saint-Barthelemy and Saint-Martin have also been ‘battered extremely violently’ with even sturdy government buildings destroyed.
U.S. President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate the residents of six islands at the southern end of the island chain. A mandatory evacuation is under way in the Florida Keys.
This article was posted: Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at 8:25 am