Scale of Irma destruction 'like a nuclear bomb'

NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images GERBEN VAN ES / Contributor

The level of destruction caused by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean has been compared to a "nuclear bomb" by witnesses.

The category five storm has unleashed strong winds and rough seas upon Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands.

It is now predicted to move towards the Bahamas and Cuba next - 500,000 people in Florida have also been told to leave their homes.

Footage shared by Richard Branson's son Sam on Instagramshows just how severe the damage has been on the island of Tortola with buildings, cars and trees all left in ruins.

A state of emergency has been declared in the British Overseas Territory of British Virgin Islands amid criticism that the British government has not done enough to help.

Lawyer Josephine Gumbs-Connor, who lives on the British owned island of Anguilla appeared on BBC Radio 4 to describe the conditions and the lack of response from the UK.

We are very familiar with hurricanes, but this particular one, Hurricane Irma, was off the charts in terms of strength. It has certainly cut a swathe through Anguilla that has left us in absolute pieces.

Our police service has suffered roof damage, so has our court house, so has our prisons, so has the hospital. Just in terms of essential services alone we are clearly in limping position.

When you look at our island at the moment you would think that it just suffered nuclear bomb devastation.

In an extract from the interview, shared on Facebook, she adds how disappointed she is and that they are supposed to be treated on the same status as Gibraltar or the Falkland Islands.

Priti Patel, the Secretary of State for International Development, has moved to reassure those affected by the hurricane that the UK is taking action.

We have deployed three UK aid humanitarian experts to the region to help coordinate the response, and positioned a British naval ship with 40 Royal Marines, Army Engineers, and vehicles, tents and facilities to purify water on board.

Our staff are on standby, both in the UK and at post, to support any British people affected. We urge British Nationals in the affected area to closely monitor and follow Foreign Office and local travel advice

France and the Netherlands have also sent ships to the region but efforts are being effected by damage to local airports and harbours.

The tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda was also hit hard by the storm, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne saying that the damage caused by the winds was "unprecedented" and the island was now "barely habitable".

Other areas that are suffering include Puerto Rico and St Martin. The BBC report that 14 people have died so far.

The weather front is now expected to move to Florida by Sunday, with President Trump urging everyone to listen to the advice of officials.

This latest storm comes just days after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston, Texas leaving thousands homeless due to severe flooding.

Another storm, Jose is currently behind Irma in the Atlantic, and is already category three storm.

Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, category one storm Hurricane Katia is currently expected to arrive on land by Saturday.

HT Daily Mail

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