Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Hurricane Irma looting: Caribbean Chaos as prisoners escape and looters run riot

Hurricane Irma looting: Caribbean Chaos as prisoners escape and looters run riot

Raging onwards from the Leeward Islands, Irma grazed Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Haiti before hitting Cuba at full category five force.

However, Hurricane Irma has downgraded to a Category 1 storm and has flooded several northern Florida cities with heavy rain and high storm surge on Monday as it headed out of the state after cutting power to millions and ripping roofs off houses.

Authorities warned of heavy damage from the storm, which has so far killed at least 25 people across the Caribbean.

Cuba emerged from a 72-hour thrashing by Hurricane Irma on Monday with three-quarters of the population without power, as the country began the task of restoring basic infrastructure and services.

In the French-controlled part of the island of St. Martin, some residents said food scarcity has led to looting at stores and some violence.

British Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier Orlando Smith said in a statement: "Rebuilding an entire territory is no small undertaking".

New images from NASA's GOES-16 satellite shows Irma's deadly path with the video also capturing hurricane Jose.

Blondel Cluff, Anguilla's representative to the U.S. and the European Union, told CNN that 15,000 people were now stranded on the island and dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs.

"The UK is going to be with you for the long term", Johnson had told residents in a video message. He was set to travel on to Sint Eustatius, which suffered severe damage.

The death toll from Irma stood at more than 40.

A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship was expected to dock near St. Martin to help in the aftermath, and a boat was bringing a 5-ton crane capable of unloading large shipping containers of aid.

Two of them are already formed, one in the eastern zone, with greater strength, and another in the western one, with a more weakened system.

Sheltering with her eight-month-old baby and 70-year-old mother, Ms Penney said: "It's like we've been bombed. I've seen a lot of war zones in my life, but I've never seen anything like this", Willem-Alexander said on the Dutch national network NOS.

Radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon has called for a parliamentary inquiry and far-right leader Marine Le Pen said the government had left islanders to "fend for themselves".

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry attacked the Government's response to the disaster for being "too little and too late".

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