Pirate FM – News – WATCH: Cornish experts helps those hit by Storm Irma

A Cornish disaster relief charity has been deployed to the hurricane zone as Irma sweeps through the Caribbean.

Truro-based ShelterBox is sending out teams to help families who have lost everything.

At least fourteen people have already died.

Now all schools and colleges in Florida are closing as it heads to the United States.

The state of Georgia is also now on alert.

The deadly hurricane has already caused major damage – and several countries in its path are yet to feel its effects.

The most powerful Atlantic storm ever recorded is still due to hit Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas.

James Luxton is an Operations Special Deployment Lead at ShelterBox.

He said: “Those winds can take whole buildings down, they can uproot trees and cause significant damage. 

“The other really serious thing they do is cause storm surges as well.

“The biggest damage you will normally find associated with these hurricanes is the water that gets pushed before or after them in the storm surge.

“In some of the areas of the Caribbean right now, the storm surge is predicted of 7 to 11 foot, so if you imagine all around the coastline here in Cornwall, or anywhere else in the world, the number of communities that would inundate, the amount of damage that would do, and the really serious risk to life there would be, that is what is happening right now.”

Here is more about Irma’s path of destruction so far:

:: Antigua and Barbuda

These islands were the first to be hit by Irma.

A two-year-old was killed on Barbudaas a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told Sky News the “carnage in Barbuda is unprecedented”.

About half of the island’s 1,800 residents have been left homeless, and 90% of its buildings have suffered damage.

Although gusts reached speeds of 230mph in Barbuda, the damage in Antigua has been described as “nominal, to the extent that it is business as usual”.

:: St Martin, Anguilla and St Barts

Four people have died on the French side of St Martin,according to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

The Dutch Royal Navy said “enormous damage” had been caused on the Dutch side of the island, where at least one person died.

Many houses are missing roofs and hotels are underwater, it added.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the storm had been of “epic proportions”, causing “widescale destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses”.

“There is no power, no gasoline, no running water,” he said.

Mr Rutte described how some residents “are sitting in the dark in ruined houses and are cut off from the outside world”.

St Martin and Anguilla experienced heavy rain and winds of up to 185mph.

Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan said “severe and in places critical” damage has been seen on Anguilla.

He told MPs that the British overseas territory had taken the full force of the hurricane, and there were “unconfirmed reports of a number of fatalities”.

The Caribbean Disaster Management Agency said at least one person had died and 90% of the island’s roads were impassible. Anguilla’s hospital and airport have also suffered damage, as have power lines.

In St Barts, damage has been described as “apocalyptic” following winds of 151mph.

:: US Virgin Islands

Authorities said three people died after Irma caused what they called “catastrophic” damage.

The deaths occurred in the St Thomas and St John districts. Officials said crews were clearing many inaccessible roads.

:: British Virgin Islands

Sir Alan Duncan said the islands had suffered “severe damage”.

Sir Richard Branson, whose Necker Island is within the group, said he and friends had “experienced a night of howling wind and rain as Hurricane Irma edges ever closer”.

His son Sam Branson said on social media: “Glad to say that all humans on Necker are ok although a lot of buildings destroyed.”

In a blog post, Sir Richard described the atmosphere as “eerie but beautiful”.

The British entrepreneur and his guests were using a concrete wine cellar as a shelter.

“I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge,” he said.

:: Puerto Rico

Three deaths were reported in Puerto Rico.

Winds of 100mph left at least 900,000 people without power and nearly 50,000 without water.

An economic crisis has led to major funding and staffing cuts at the public power company.

That being the case, the power supply may not be restored for up to six months.

:: Dominican Republic and Haiti

Irma’s wind strength dipped to 175mph as she soaked the northern coasts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Thursday.

:: Turks and Caicos Islands

The hurricane hit this area early on Friday UK time) bringing winds of around 175mph.

6:02am 8th September 2017

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