Irma makes landfall in Florida; govt says all Indians are safe

RSTV Bureau
St. Thomas :  This image made from video shows damage from Hurricane Irma in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Hurricane Irma weakened slightly Thursday with sustained winds of 175 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm boasted 185 mph winds for a more than 24-hour period, making it the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm was expected to arrive in Cuba by Friday. It could hit the Florida mainland by late Saturday, according to hurricane center models.

St. Thomas : This image made from video shows damage from Hurricane Irma in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Hurricane Irma weakened slightly Thursday with sustained winds of 175 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm boasted 185 mph winds for a more than 24-hour period, making it the strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm was expected to arrive in Cuba by Friday. It could hit the Florida mainland by late Saturday, according to hurricane center models.

Indian missions in Caracas, Havana, Georgetown and Port of Spain have reported that all Indian nationals there are safe, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today after hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Caribbean islands and surrounding areas.

Irma – which has killed at least 19 people and devastated thousands of homes in the Caribbean – made landfall late yesterday on the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba.

“Hurricane Irma – Our missions in Caracas (Venezuela’s capital), Havana (Cuba’s capital), Georgetown (Cayman Islands) and Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) have reported that all Indian nationals there are safe,” Swaraj tweeted.

Earlier, the External Affairs Ministry said that it was monitoring the situation and communicating with the Indian diaspora in the US, Venezuela, France and the Netherlands in the wake of deadly hurricane Irma.

Ministry’s spokesman Raveesh Kumar said the Indian missions in the four countries were in touch with local government officials to provide assistance to the affected Indians.

“Our missions in Venezuela, the Netherlands, France and the US are constantly monitoring the situation following destruction due to hurricane Irma. They are in constant touch with the Indian diaspora affected by Irma and with local government officials to provide all possible assistance,” Kumar said in a series of tweets.

Irma was barrelling towards Florida after making landfall in Cuba’s Camaguey Archipelago.

France said at least 10 people have been killed across its Caribbean territories with seven more missing. Two people died on the Dutch side of the Saint Martin island.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesman tweeted telephone numbers for Indians to contact in case of emergency: Embassy of India, Venezuela (+58 4241951854/4142214721); Netherlands (+31247247247); France (0800000971).

The Indian Embassy in the Netherlands tweeted that they were in touch with the Dutch government.

The Indian embassy in Caracas in Venezuela was also monitoring the situation in Saint Martin and “coordinating the welfare of all Indians living there.”