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Atl least 1.2 million people 'battered' by Hurricane Irma: Red Cross

Irma has turned the Caribbean islands of Barbuda and St Martin into mountains of rubble

AFP/PTI  |  Geneva 

Hurricane Irma, Caribbean
Felled tress block a road in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Samana, Dominican Republic. Photo: AP/PTI

An estimated 1.2 million people have already been "battered" by Hurricane Irma, a number that could surge to 26 million, the said today.

"Our worst fears have played out in and elsewhere," Walter Cotte, Americas director for the Federation of and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in a statement.

Irma -- one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record -- has turned the islands of and St Martin into mountains of rubble.

The Geneva-based IFRC said that Irma "may have already battered an estimated 1.2 million people and poses a serious threat to millions more".

The organisation specified that in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba "an estimated 26 million people could be exposed to destructive winds and torrential rain."

An initial 600,000 Swiss francs (USD 631,000 / 525,000 euros) in emergency funds have been released to help preparedness efforts in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the said.

"People across the will need our help to withstand and then recover from this storm," Cotte said. "We're already preparing what could become a massive and multi-country response effort."

Irma was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 185 mph (295 kph) as it followed a projected path that would see it hit the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti today, continuing past eastern Cuba before veering north for

First Published: Thu, September 07 2017. 23:13 IST