Hurricane Irma left behind “widespread damage” on the Caribbean island of Barbuda Wednesday, a spokesperson for Antigua and Barbuda’s National Office of Disaster Services told ABC News.
“Barbuda is literally rubble,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ABS TV/Radio Antigua.
Browne said about 90 percent of all structures were destroyed when the eye of the Category 5 storm passed over the island.
“Either they were totally demolished or they would have lost their roof,” Browne said after returning to Antigua from a plane trip to the neighboring island. “It is just really a horrendous situation.”
Browne told the Associated Press that a 2-year-old was killed as a family tried to escaped their damaged home.
Meanwhile, about 600,000 Puerto Ricans are without power as the hurricane bears down on the U.S. territory Wednesday night. According to the U.S. National Weather Service, Puerto Rico hasn’t seen a hurricane of this magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928. That storm killed 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has declared a State of Emergency, effective at 8 a.m. Thursday, and advised residents to prepare for the possible impacts of Hurricane Irma, according to our affiliate WLOS.
“There’s still a lot that we don’t know about this storm, and we don’t know exactly where the storm will track, and we don’t know yet which parts of North Carolina will be impacted,” Cooper said Wednesday during a live briefing. “But what we do know, it is time for North Carolinians to get ready for Irma.”
Hurricane Irma lashed the Caribbean Wednesday, causing at least three deaths, according to ABC News.
The National Hurricane Center said, “The threat of direct hurricane impacts in Florida over the weekend and early next week has increased.”
Officials in Puerto Rico said more than 20 percent of energy subscribers — about 300,000 people — have lost power, ABC News reported.
More than 1,000 people are in shelters Wednesday afternoon and some tourists and residents are stranded as Hurricane Irma brings winds and heavy rain to the island.
“There is no reason to be outside,” said Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello.