Expats in the Caribbean fear Hurricane Irma disaster

Published:  6 Sep at 6 PM
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As Hurricane Irma barrels across its first landfall in the Caribbean at an incredible 190mph plus, residents, expats and tourists along its path are fearing for their lives.

The chance of two ferocious storms hitting the USA within two weeks of each other is rare, with Irma already classified at category 5 and spreading widely enough to encompass both sides of the Florida peninsula. At present, it’s hitting hard on islands in the Caribbean, with residents and expats rushing to secure their roofs and battening down their windows.

ABS TV and Radio director Garfield Burford is based on Antigua, where the storm is already causing serious damage to property. He told reporters the wind is very strong, causing debris to fly through the air and roofs to blow away. Government shelters are crammed with refugees from the elements, and an official warning ended with ‘May God protect us all’.

Red alerts have now been issued for St Kitts and Nevis, Leeward, Anguilla, Barbuda, Montserrat, St Martin, St Eustacius, St Barthelemy, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with the storm heading straight for Puerto Rico’s northern shoreline. Across the region, stores and streets are empty and homes are barricaded with sandbags.

Holidaymakers are being evacuated wherever possible, with emergency flights from all destinations, although Brits on the Turks and Calcos islands are angry that airlines are unwilling to change their flights due to the emergency. In the Bahamas, a mandatory evacuation is taking place, with expats, local residents and tourists expecting to leave today by air for Nassau.

Puerto Rico’s electricity provider is warning the entire island could be dark for as long as six months, it’s not known yet whether Donald Trump’s multi-million dollar hideaway on St Martin is still standing and Florida’s governor has now declared a state of emergency. Global warming, it seems, is alive and kicking in spite of presidential denials.
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