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First dead in the Caribbean

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 | World News

The hurricane "Irma" has killed at least two people on the Caribbean islands of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin. At least two others were seriously injured, the French government said on Wednesday evening.

The hurricane "Irma" is swept through the Caribbean by the destructive force and wind speeds of some 300 kilometers per hour. The highest-category cyclist reached the island of Barbuda on Wednesday and then moved on to Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, where entire coastal sections were devastated. While "Irma" moved further north-west, the storm was expected on British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The government of the Bahamas ordered the evacuation of several islands in the south of the island chain. It is also more likely that "Irma" could meet the US state of Florida.

  The storm could be the worst ever Florida had ever been exposed to, said Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday the ABC radio station. "I want everyone to understand what's going on here," Scott said. All inhabitants should cover for three days with water and food. "Take what you need, but do not take any more," said Scott, pointing to possible shortages.

The eye of the hurricane classified as "potentially catastrophic" lingered on the French overseas territory Saint-Barthélemy, which is particularly popular with the international jet set, for around an hour and a half. It then reached the island of Saint-Martin, divided between France and the Netherlands. Everywhere he set about destroying. The French Meteorological Service reported heavy floods. Whole coastal areas have already been flooded.

Wind blasts of up to 360 kilometers per hour
The sea "burst with extreme force" to the coasts, the French weather service announced. Before his instruments were destroyed in the storm, even gusts with peak wind speeds of 360 kilometers per hour were measured. Local media reported "colossal damage" to Saint-Martin. On video recordings were driving cars and men without boats in the floods.

The Minister for the French overseas territories, Annick Girardin, also reported "major damage" on the affected islands. Thus the storm had carried away the roofs of numerous houses. Despite the highest alarm level, according to Girardin, however, about 7000 people refused to leave their homes until the very end.

Even stronger than "Harvey"
In the evening, the minister wanted to travel to the island of Guadeloupe, which has so far been spared. In the short message service Twitter, she announced she would bring additional helpers to the reinforcement and aid supplies.

Even before the storm hit the size of France on land, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) of the USA had risen to the highest category 5. This makes "Irma" even stronger than "Harvey", which at the end of August the US states of Texas and Louisiana.

Still no storm was stronger on the Atlantic
The NHC warned that the storm could cause further catastrophic damage. Even now, he can be classified as "historical": since the beginning of the records, no storm on the open Atlantic has yet reached such a strength.

In the meantime, "Irma" took course in the direction of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where he was expected at the time of the night (local time). The further route of the hurricane is still unclear, but according to various predictions, he also threatens Haiti and Florida.

"Serious threat to the whole state"
Rick Scott, governor of Florida, said "Irma" is a "serious threat to the entire state." Many tourists were asked to leave the tourist island of Key West. In Miami Beach the people with hamster purchases prepared for the approaching storm. In a supermarket, entire shelf rows were empty.

Local weather services predicted that the first winds and rains could reach South Florida on late Friday. US President Donald Trump called for Florida as well as for the US external areas Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands the emergency, thereby federal funds are released. The Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, used the National Guard and opened shelters for up to 62,000 people.

More than thirty million affected
According to the United Nations, up to 37 million people could be affected by the effects of hurricane Irma. This said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric on Wednesday before journalists in New York. A United Nations aid team had already traveled to the Caribbean island of Barbados, with other teams ready. In Haiti, UN personnel stationed there had prepared for the Hurricane and were also ready to provide emergency aid.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives released $ 7.85 billion (around € 6.6 billion) in aid to disaster areas affected by Hurricane "Harvey".

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