The Caribbean Islands Impacted the Most by Hurricane Irma

This photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, in St. Maarten. // Photo by Gerben Van Es/Dutch Defense Ministry via AP, Newscred

Although Hurricane Irma is expected to continue to ravage the Caribbean throughout today and tomorrow, Travel Agent thought we would get you caught up on the most serious damage assessed so far.

According to a statement issued Thursday morning by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, casualties on AnguillaSt. MartinSt. Barts and Barbuda have been reported at this time; electricity and communications are down on several islands and the full extent of the damage is not yet known.

Resorts throughout the affected areas in the region, including those on nearby islands in Irma's projected path, have instituted emergency hurricane protocols.

"We are extremely saddened to learn that we lost life during the past 24 hours and we stand with our Caribbean brothers and sisters at this time," said Frank Comito, CHTA's director general, in a written release. "We are keeping everyone in our thoughts and prayers, including family, friends and residents of Florida, which has declared a state of emergency. The Caribbean people are resilient and we are resolved to work with our partners to restore lives and communities."

According to the CHTA, all hurricane warnings have now been discontinued for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saba, St. Barts, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and NevisSt. Maarten/St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

As of Thursday morning, Irma was moving west-northwest off the northern coast of Hispaniola, heading for the Turks and Caicos Islands.  A hurricane warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas, according to the National Hurricane Center. 

A hurricane watch due to Hurricane Jose is now in effect for Antigua and Barbuda, which has already seen more than 90 percent of its buildings destroyed by Hurricane Irma. A tropical storm watch is in effect for Anguilla, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Here are further details behind some of the islands most devastated by Hurricane Irma:

Barbuda

Several media outlets are reporting that Barbuda has been completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma, which claimed the life of an infant and heavily damaged 90 percent of the island’s buildings and vehicles. 

According to The NationGaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said, "Barbuda now is literally rubble.” 

According to ABC News, Browne said the hurricane destroyed 90 percent of its structures and vehicles. Speaking later on CNN, Browne said that 95 percent of properties in Barbuda were damaged, with up to 30 percent demolished.

He estimated that 95 percent of all buildings had suffered at least some damage, according to the ABC News report. Many structures lost their roofs and others were completely destroyed. He said parts of the island are “literally underwater,” according to the report.

According to Fox News, Browne confirmed that one infant died as Irma slammed Barbuda when the baby's mother was trying to escape a destroyed property.

According to The Nation, Browne said "at least 60 percent of people are homeless" and that "even where they are sheltering they are in damaged homes." According to ABC News, Browne said the island was "barely habitable" and the damage "unprecedented."

St. Martin

Several media outlets are reporting that Hurricane Irma has claimed at least eight lives in St. Martin and destroyed roughly 95 percent of the French-Caribbean island’s infrastructure. 

According to Yahoo News, at least six people have been killed after Hurricane Irma tore through the region, Guadeloupe prefect Eric Maire said Wednesday. But that was before two more deaths were reported. 

According to The NationDaniel Gibbs, chairman of a local council on St. Martin, said St. Martin is "95 percent destroyed.”

"It's an enormous catastrophe. Ninety-five percent of the island is destroyed. I'm in shock. It's frightening," said Gibbs, a former French lawmaker, speaking on Radio Caribbean International.

According to CNN, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters, “In terms of material damage, the four strongest buildings on the island of St. Martin have been destroyed," which meant that weaker structures likely had been damaged or destroyed.

St. Maarten

And Hurricane Irma also did major damage to St. Martin’s sister island, the Dutch-Caribean island of St. MaartenSonesta Hotels, which represents three major resorts on St. Maarten, issued a statement Wednesday night, detailing the damage assessment of its resorts, as well as the rest of the island. 

While all guests and staff members of all three hotels - Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa, Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino - are safe and unharmed, the hotels themselves suffered major devastation.

“The damages to our resorts, however, are severe, as is widespread damage and destruction on our beloved island of Sint Maarten,” according to the statement. “Severe damage has also occurred at Princess Juliana International Airport, and we do not have news as to when the airport will resume operations.”

According to The Telegraph, the hurricane destroyed the airport with rocks smashing into planes and passenger walkways being sent crashing onto the tarmac.

St. Barts

On Wednesday, the fire station in St. Barts was under three feet of water and fire engines were out of service with firefighters taking refuge of the first floor, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

While several homes were damaged with roofs blowing off in some cases, news is now starting to trickle out about the destination’s damaged tourism product. 

Popular celebrity hot spot, The Eden Rock Hotel on St. Barts, announced earlier on its website that the hotel's slated re-opening date of early October is now postponed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Irma.

"The hurricane Irma has caused serious damage across the small island," according to the statement. "At this stage, it is too early to report the magnitude of the event on the property buildings and facilities."

The good news is no staff or guests were hurt. The property was closed for annual maintenance, so there were no guests in residence. 

According to a statement on the hotel’s website, “Communication between St. Barts and the Metropole has not been restored yet. Further updates will follow this release. The scheduled re-opening in early October has now been postponed until further notice.”

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more Hurricane Irma updates and be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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