Global humanitarian help is needed in the "mammoth task", Sanders said, adding that the small island community can't rebuild without such assistance. I was stunned to see a press release from the Interior Department - the agency responsible for US territories - issued in the hours after Irma passed over the Virgin Islands. "Hurricane Irma is continuing a path of destruction that brought the eye of the storm to Necker Island, Moskito Island, and the whole surrounding area".
Irma is now spreading westward over parts of Cuba and the central Bahamas as a category five storm, after leaving a trail of destruction in the Caribbean.
The Keys no doubt took a brutal hit.
Cuba's Civil Defense has reported 10 casualties after Hurricane Irma ravished the island, while Cuban President Raul Castro released a statement emphasizing the need for organization to recover from the storm.
Jennie Rabinowitz, a graduate of Calhoun High School who has been living on St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for the past five years, said that she was among the fortunate ones to weather Hurricane Irma's wrath from the safety of a bunker when the storm struck the island last week.
The damage was epic.
Kaffenbarger says she's trying to round up supplies to ship back to St. Thomas.
Thankfully, if not miraculously, only one person died there; but right now Barbuda is uninhabited for the first time in three centuries.
For those who have visited Cuba and have been in Havana I can tell you that the water the sea advanced about 800 to 900 meters from the coast, above the seawall, in some places reached the height of 1.5 meters.
"We're going to have to keep this going for some time because Barbuda's not going to be rebuilt in a hurry, and when we do rebuild it, we're going to have to rebuild to massive hurricane standards". A big reason is the breadth of the wreckage.
The island was a Caribbean getaway surrounded by turquoise water.
But there are other factors. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, 24 deaths have been attributed to Irma. What that meant was that aid supplies, specially trained military personnel and a helicopter were in the Caribbean when Irma hit, and they could start getting to Anguilla as soon as the hurricane passed.
Jose is to move farther from the islands into the northern Atlantic.
The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC)/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) teams have been deployed to affected areas, including Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Sint Maarten, and Turks and Caicos Islands to conduct initial assessments.
Mr. Branson is now calling for a "Marshall Plan" of worldwide recovery aid for the Caribbean. This is because the hurricane's violent 298 kilometer per hour (185 miles per hour) winds literally stripped the land of much of its tropical vegetation.