The four “most solid” buildings on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin have been destroyed as Hurricane Irma wreaks major damage in the region, the French government has said. Serious flooding and building damage has affected a number of islands, French interior minister Gerard Collomb said. “We know that the four most solid buildings on the island have been destroyed which means that more rustic structures have probably been completely or partially destroyed,” he told reporters.

The French government has confirmed there are electrical blackouts and widespread flooding on the islands of St Barthélemy and St Martin. Irma, a category five “major” hurricane according to US authorities, has wind speeds up to 185mph. The hurricane has become the most powerful ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean, and the US National Hurricane Center has warned of “potentially catastrophic” effects. READ MORE