Published on : Saturday, September 9, 2017
There was a major landfall on the Camaguey Archipelago off the north-eastern coast. However, the Bahamas was spared due to Irma’s changed track.
Around 20 people are known to have died across the Caribbean. In Florida, 5.6 million people or 25% of the US state’s population have been asked to evacuate as the storm approaches.
This was the first time that a category five hurricane has hit Cuba in decades. Late on Friday, Irma was strengthened in the last few hours and had hit the Camaguey Archipelago.
The National Hurricane Center reported that Irma had maximum sustained winds of 257km /h (160mph).
The provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Matanzas have received hurricane warning.
The eye of the storm was about 190km (120 miles) directed south-east of the Cuban fishing town of Caibarien.
There is power loss, difficulty in communication in towns and remote areas. People had earlier tried to secure roofs and replace their belongings from the low-lying coastal areas to higher grounds.
Anaida Gonzalez a retired nurse told that there were strong gusts of winds, it was continuously pouring on and off and the lights went out.
Around 50,000 tourists so far have moved from Cuba and the resorts on the north coast are empty.
Brock Long, the head of the US federal emergency agency mentioned that Irma would further ‘devastate’ Florida or neighbouring states.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said Floridian should prepare themselves for evacuation, home can be rebuild but the life of the residents cannot.The death toll kept on rising in the Caribbean.
The French territory of St Martin had nine people killed and seven missing.
A category four hurricane Jose with wind speed of upto 240 Km/h (150mph) will follow a similar path like Irma.