In Brief

Hurricane Irma leaves Barbuda ‘barely habitable’

Winds of 185mph and a 20ft storm surge have swept through the Caribbean

At least seven people have been killed and thousands left homeless after Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean.

The category-five storm first made landfall at Barbuda, where Prime Minister Gaston Browne reported that one child had died and about 90% of the structures on the island have been destroyed.

"It is absolute devastation," he said. "The island is literally under water. In fact, I'm of the view that, as it stands now, Barbuda is barely habitable," Browne said.

The French territories of St Martin and Saint Barthélemy have also suffered significant damage from the storm, with six deaths reported after Irma's 185mph winds and a storm surge of up to 20ft swept across the islands.

"St Martin's airport, the third largest in the Caribbean, has been destroyed, with local officials saying that most buildings on the territory have been levelled," the BBC reports.

Hurricane Irma, reportedly the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, is continuing to move west towards the United States.

The storm passed north of Puerto Rico, causing widespread flooding, and is expected to pass just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic later today, before heading towards Florida.

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