Deadly Hurricane Irma flattens islands

Hurricane Irma has caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean, reducing buildings to rubble and leaving at least nine people dead.

The small island of Barbuda is said to be “barely habitable”. Officials warn that Saint Martin is almost destroyed, and the death toll is likely to rise.

Irma is a category five hurricane, the highest possible level.

It is currently north-east of the Dominican Republic, heading towards Turks and Caicos.

It is the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade, with sustained wind speeds of 285km/h (180mph).

Hurricane Irma first hit the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

At least one death, of a child, was reported on Barbuda, where Prime Minister Gaston Browne said about 95% of the buildings had suffered some damage.

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