Hurricane Irma causes devastation across the Caribbean

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

The small island of Barbuda is said to be “barely habitable” while officials warn that the French territory of St Martin is almost destroyed.

With the scale of the damage still emerging the death toll is likely to rise.

Meanwhile, two other storms have strengthened to become hurricanes.

Irma, a category five hurricane, the highest possible level, is passing north of the US territory of Puerto Rico, the US National Hurricane Center said.

More than half of the island’s three million residents were without power as Irma caused heavy downpours and strong winds. Officials have said that power could be cut off for several days.

The most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade had wind speeds of 295km/h (185mph) and was expected to pass near or just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

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