Irma causes 'catastrophic' damage to US Virgin Islands

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Authorities in the U.S. Virgin Islands say three people have died after Irma caused what they described as "catastrophic" damage.

Governor spokesman Samuel Topp said Thursday that the deaths occurred in the St. Thomas and St. John district. Officials say crews are clearing many roads that remain inaccessible.

Irma also killed four people and injured about 50 on the French side of St. Martin, an island split between Dutch and French control. Three more deaths were reported on the British island of Anguilla, independent Barbuda and the Dutch side of St. Martin.

The Category 5 storm destroyed homes, schools, and roads as it roared through the northeast Caribbean this week and heads toward Florida.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp says they're getting badly needed federal help after Hurricane Irma significantly damaged St. Thomas and St. John with top winds of 150 mph for more than four hours. Fire and police stations collapsed and the main hospital in St. Thomas sustained heavy damage. He says he's got hospitals breached, homes with roofs gone and police and fire stations that are blown away.

Mapp told The Associated Press Thursday authorities are distributing emergency food and water, tarps and other supplies, and evacuating hospital patients to Puerto Rico and elsewhere. A curfew remains in effect, including about 5,000 tourists.

© 2017 Associated Press


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