As those in Florida and Georgia prepare for Hurricane Irma, many islands have already found themselves blasted by the destructive storm. Here is the status of those islands as of Friday morning, based on reports:
Antigua and Barbuda
Hurricane Irma blew through Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday. Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that half of the 100,000 residents of Antigua and Barbuda have had their homes heavily damaged or destroyed. One person has died from the storm in Barbuda. In anticipation of Hurricane Jose, the hurricane following Irma, the government hopes to transport all of Barbuda’s 1,600 people to its sister island, Antigua, by the end of Friday.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe of France said four people were confirmed dead and around 50 were injured on the French side of St. Martin’s. One death has been reported on the Dutch side of St. Martin. St. Martin is without electricity, fuel, and drinking water, according to French officials. Witnesses have described supermarkets being ransacked. Sixty-five percent of homes on the island are uninhabitable, but rescue workers are still assessing the damage. The US Consulate General in Curaçao said it believes about 6,000 Americans are stranded on St. Martin.
Although Haiti managed to avoid Irma’s direct path, it still sustained flooding and mudslides. The nation of 11 million is still recovering from an earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew last October. According to preliminary government figures, fewer than 160 people heeded public warnings to evacuate to temporary shelters in the north. Jerry Chandler, director of Haiti’s National Protection Agency, said projections say that up to 600,000 Haitians would be severely affected by the storm and up to 400,000 might lose their homes.
At least 2,721 homes have been damaged in the Dominican Republic. Nearly 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and 7,400 tourists have been moved from beachside hotels.
The storm has left many Puerto Rican residents without cellphone service after knocking out nearly half of the country’s 1,600 cellphone towers. Electrical service has been restored to 144,000 households, although that still leaves more than 1 million people without power. Before the storm, authorities had warned that some neighborhoods could be without electricity for up to six months. There have been three reported deaths in Puerto Rico.
US Virgin Islands
Four people were reportedly killed on the US Virgin Islands. There are 5,000 tourists on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas who were unable to evacuate before the storms. Two fire stations, two fire police stations, and the hospital on St. Thomas were destroyed. The United States military has sent troops to aid relief efforts.
At least one death has been reported on the British island of Anguilla. Officials there have reported extensive damage to the airports, hospitals, schools, and shelters and said 90 percent of roads were compromised.
Cuba has begun evacuating some of the 51,000 tourists visiting the island, including the 36,000 staying at resorts on the northern coast.
Turks and Caicos
The hurricane hit Grand Turk Thursday evening and caused an island-wide power blackout, along with other damage to residential homes and streets. Zhavago Jolly, a government spokesperson, said he had not heard any reports of fatalities or injuries.Sophia Eppolito can be reached at email@example.com.