Hurricane Irma fell on Cuba on Friday, September 8, after strengthening, reverting to Category 5 storm. It is now heading for Florida, USA. In parallel, another hurricane, Jose, is approaching the West Indies, while a third cyclone, Katia, touched Mexico, already bruised by a violent earthquake on Friday, September 8th.
More than a quarter of the population of Florida was under an evacuation order Saturday, according to the governor of this state of the southeast of the United States threatened by the arrival in the next hours of the powerful hurricane Irma.
Florida rescue services ” estimate that 6.3 million residents of Florida have been ordered to evacuate, ” against 5.6 million on Friday night, the governor’s office said in a statement. Hurricane Irma, awaited with worry in Florida, reached Cuba on Saturday after causing at least 25 deaths in the Caribbean, now threatened by another hurricane, Jose, of category 4.
After reaching category 5, the highest in the night, Irma was lowered to category 3 on Saturday afternoon with peak winds at 205 km / h at 1500 TU, but it is expected to ” strengthen on the way to southern Florida “and the American archipelago of Keys that it must hit as of Sunday ,” warns the US hurricane center NHC.
► The United States on alert
Hurricane Irma is approaching Florida but seems to be losing its intensity. The governor of the State remains nevertheless very alarmist and calls the inhabitants to no longer leave their homes. In the downtown area of Miami, almost no cars are running except for police vehicles. All the windows are barricaded with wood. A few pedestrians walked their dog this Saturday morning one last time before the arrival of Irma. Everyone prepares for a long night. The hurricane is expected around 2 am, reports RFI’s special envoy to Miami, Anne Corpet.
— anne corpet (@annecorpet) September 9, 2017
The wind began to blow, and we are just beginning to see palm trees bending. Irma trajectory slightly diverged during the night, the metropolis could eventually be relatively spared: the eye of the cyclone should strike the bay of Tampa further west after sweeping the Keys archipelago at the southern tip of the United States.
Irma has demoted but remains extremely threatening and the governor of Florida remains very alarmist: Rick Scott said Saturday morning that the hurricane would be the most catastrophic in the history of the State and multiplies the warnings. He ordered the evacuation of nearly six million people. The exodus to the north has been massive, and according to the authorities, more than 20,000 beds are already occupied in the forty open shelters in the city, and the police patrol to force the homeless to reach these centers.
In Miami, in the Biskayne Park neighborhood, located between the canal and the ocean: report
Hurricane Andrew, which had rolled most of southern Florida in 1992, ” was a category 5 hurricane but very, very small, compact compared to what we are seeing with Irma, ” recalled the boss of the United States Agency for Emergency Management (Fema), Brock Long.
In the United States, the state of emergency already in force in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina has been extended to Virginia, further north.
The US Navy announced on Friday that it was sending a USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier from the port of Norfolk, Virginia to assist the federal or local authorities. The US Army also dispatched two amphibious landing craft and a destroyer. These four ships, carrying 300 men and 27 helicopters, will have to bring medical, maritime, logistical and security aid if necessary to the affected persons.
► The hurricane passes through Cuba
As Florida awaited its arrival with anguish, Hurricane Irma reached Cuba at the end of the night on Friday night, after leaving a deadly trail across the Caribbean now threatened by another hurricane, Jose.
Irma, downgraded to category 4 on Friday morning, finally regained vigor in the night from Friday to Saturday, returning to level 5, the highest, at the time of hitting Cuba. With gusts reaching up to 256 km / h when it hit the Cuban coasts, according to state media, Irma is the most powerful hurricane whose eye directly affects the island since 1932.
Caibarien, a fishing town in central Cuba, is one of the most affected by Hurricane Irma in Cuba. The sea has penetrated the streets of the city for a length of 400 meters.
After killing at least 25 people during its passage on the Caribbean since Wednesday, the cyclone reached Cuba by the archipelago of Camaguey at 0300 GMT Saturday. Before Irma arrived, torrential rains had already struck the island, where a million people were evacuated as a precaution.
In the tourist areas on the northern coast of Cuba, more than 10,000 foreign tourists and several thousand Cuban holidaymakers were transported to a safe place, and the capital Havana was on alert.
► The West Indies on the alert
After the ravages of Irma, it is Hurricane Jose, which was reinforced Friday in category 4, with winds of 240 km / h, which threatens the Caribbean islands. Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy were again placed in a cyclonic red alert. ” We hardly had time to realize Irma that Jose arrives, ” confided residents of the French island of Saint-Barth, where relief is struggling to organize.
Many infrastructures have been destroyed, including the delivery of water, which has stopped running from taps since Thursday. A large refueling system is set up by hydraulic actors, such as the Saur group, which is usually present on site and has been sending reinforcements since.
“The particularity of the island of Saint-Barthelemy is that it has neither watercourse nor ground water, explains its spokesman Christophe Piednoel. All the water is produced by a seawater desalination plant, which requires energy. “Problem, electricity has been cut off and the plant is stationary since the hurricane has passed.
On the island of Saint-Martin, the extent of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma is obvious. The hills usually covered with lush tropical vegetation are now brown as if burnt. In the town of Marigot, the chief town of the French part of Saint-Martin, it was chaos: roofs were punctured, broken, scrap metal, scrap metal and vegetation strewn on the ground.
“The water went up to the second floor, there was no water (current, note), more electricity, more information, just noise, noise, a deafening noise,” explained Gary Epstein, an American tourist.
With a cyclone you never know, it can go closer or farther … Until the last minute you will not know. So with tons and tons of rubble, if you have 200 km / hour of wind, all this, it will fly again. Nothing is secure. We are at 48 hours, there, of what happened. We can not stand it!
Etchegoyen, resident of Saint-Martin
The cost of the damage caused by the Irma monster hurricane on the islands of Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy is estimated at 1.2 billion euros, said Saturday the Caisse Centrale de Reassurance (CCR), a French public reinsurer specializing in Natural disasters. ” This amount covers damages to homes, vehicles, and businesses ” covered by the natural disaster compensation scheme, CCR said in a statement.
In order to support local NGOs, Guadeloupe companies have also set up an aid fund in Saint-Martin. They are mobilizing to provide food and supplies to the disaster area.
“The emergency there today is going to be water, milk, some baby food, for example, certain medicines …” explains Louis Collomb, vice president of the Union of Medef companies of Guadeloupe. The pharmacies have been hit, so they are doing an inventory.So we also have a job with the Union of Pharmacists. Afterwards, the difficulty for us is to organize on arrival the reception of these goods and their fairly fair distribution in fact. There are people who do not know where to sleep. We have a lot of requests for repatriation.”