Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Today is the LAST DAY of this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

TODAY is the last day to meet our goal -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year.

A street is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The category 5 storm is expected to pass over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and make landfall in Florida by the weekend.

A street is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Irma on September 6, 2017 in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. The Category 5 storm is expected to pass over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands today, and make landfall in Florida by the weekend. (Photo: Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

Like a 'Horror Movie': Hurricane Irma Brings Total Devastation to Caribbean

Irma is expected to maintain record-setting wind speed Thursday as it barrels toward Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas

Jake Johnson

While at least one billionaire was able to safely ride out the storm in his luxury wine cellar, most residents of the Caribbean islands that took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma Wednesday described scenes out of a "horror movie" as the megastorm—the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic—came ashore, rendering the island of Barbuda nearly "uninhabitable."

"Total carnage" is how Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, described the scene.

"It was easily one of the most emotionally painful experiences that I have had," Browne said in an interview, adding that thousands of people have been left homeless.

The storm also directly struck St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

"Nearly a million people were without power in Puerto Rico after hurricane-force winds and torrential rain," the New York Times reported. "Almost 50,000 people were without water."

"The winds that we are experiencing right now are like nothing we have experienced before," said Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosello, adding that the storm has already done "significant damage" to the island.

Irma is expected to maintain record-setting wind speed Thursday as it barrels toward Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas.

Save the Children observed in a press release: "Millions of children in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are currently exposed to the devastating impact of what's been dubbed the most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade."

The organization continued:

In the Dominican Republic, emergency teams are working with armed forces and the police to evacuate civilians across 17 provinces in the north and east. It's believed up to three million people are affected—some 40 percent of whom live in poverty. With designated shelters able to accommodate just 900,000 people, emergency response teams are now turning to churches, schools and community centers as alternatives.

As the Guardian reported on Thursday: "Early estimates suggest 74,000 people, including 20,000 children, have been affected in the Caribbean so far."

Florida is also bracing for the storm, which is expected to make landfall in the state this weekend.

Philip Levine, mayor of Miami Beach, called the storm "a nuclear hurricane" in an appearance on CNN, and added: "Whether you're a resident or a visitor, you need to get out."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

TODAY is the last day of our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Texas Supreme Court Allows Century-Old Abortion Ban to Take Effect

"Extremist politicians are on a crusade to force Texans into pregnancy and childbirth against their will, no matter how devastating the consequences."

Jake Johnson ·


'What's There to Even Discuss?' Omar Says Free, Universal School Meals Should Be Permanent

"We have an opportunity to prove that a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can still deliver big things. And we can feed tens of millions of hungry kids while we do it."

Jake Johnson ·


'Stark Betrayal': Biden Administration Floats New Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling

"This is the third time since November the Biden administration has announced new oil and gas leasing plans on the Friday before a holiday," said one climate advocate. "They're ashamed, and they should be."

Jake Johnson ·


As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo