Hurricane Irma: Massive destruction in northern Caribbean islands
New York [U.S.A.], September 7 : The most powerful category 5 Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, hammered Puerto Rico on Wednesday night and caused widespread destruction and number of casualties in northern Caribbean islands specially Barbuda, which has been literally reduced to a rubble.Three deaths have been reported and there are fears of more fatalities.
The most powerful hurricane ever recorded over Atlantic Ocean battered Barbuda, St Martin and Puerto Rico as it moved west with category 5 packing devastating winds and rain and left 60 per cent of the islands' population homeless.
The communication has been disrupted totally after winds snapped a cell tower in two on the island and the Barbuda residents are living under harsh conditions with no water supply and electricity.
After slamming St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Kitts and Nevis, the storm was expected to move near the British Virgin Islands and northern US Virgin Islands.
The storm's centre was then expected to pass near or just north of Puerto Rico on Wednesday afternoon and evening.
"Barbuda right now is literally a rubble," CNN quoted Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda as saying after Hurricane Irma left a trail of "absolute devastation" across the tiny Caribbean island.
The Caribbean is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands. The region is south-east of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.
Irma damaged Barbuda's lone airport, which will now force officials to ferry supplies by boat and helicopter from Antigua. Browne estimated rebuilding would cost about $100 million.
"The entire housing stock was damaged," Browne said, after visiting the island of 1,800.
"It is just a total devastation."
Irma killed at least three people, destroyed government buildings, tore roofs from houses and left islands without power or communications. St. Martin/St. Maarten and St. Barts also felt the fury of the Category 5 storm, one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic, according to updates from the region.
Weather Forecasters warn that Irma's likely path will be near the Turks and Caicos Islands on Thursday. The storm is expected to pass just north of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, bringing hurricane force winds to northern sections of the island, likely causing mudslides and flooding.
In the Bahamas, emergency evacuations have been ordered for six southern islands -- Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay and Ragged Island.