British FM Johnson flying to Caribbean after criticism of Irma aid

A man rides past a boarded up house as part of preparations ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma

Tour Sir Richard Branson's private island where he rode out Hurricane Irma

Priti Patel, Secretary of State for International Development, said the United Kingdom was working at "full throttle" to meet the "vast needs" of people hit by Hurricane Irma.

"It is a traumatic time here in the British Virgin Islands", Branson wrote in a blog post published on Friday.

There are just under 500 troops now in the region, made up of marines, engineers, medics and specialists, including Army and RAF personnel. A night-time curfew was imposed.

Some 500 British troops have been sent to the region, with 120 stationed in the British Virgin Islands, which has been devastated by the historic storm.

"We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean".

"Some British nationals actually have been evacuated from Saint Martin", he said. Rescuers on the French side said at least eight people died and some 95 percent of homes were destroyed. I know there have been disturbing reports of lawlessness and looting, so we've deployed 50 police officers to help the local security to guarantee law and order.

Barbuda's prime minister claims that the island is barely habitable. Officials on the tiny two-island nation said it will seek worldwide assistance. The contrast before and after the storm is stark, NASA's Earth Observatory reveals.

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About 400 to 500 people are now in shelters, and others are staying with people whose homes were not destroyed.

The small, 68-square-mile island of Barbuda, above, was hit especially hard by the Category 5 hurricane.

The storm made landfall in Florida on Sunday before causing serious destruction in Miami, however, yesterday Irma was downgraded to a tropical storm as it headed north. The storm brought several tornadoes, which leveled homes in the eastern city of Palm Bay.

Although Georgia and SC avoided the worst of Irma's destructive path, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency after 340,000 were left without electricity and four people died. On Twitter, meteorologist Greg Diamond reported gusts as high as 64 miles per hour at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson global airport.

The destructive storm also left other victims in its wake, namely marine wildlife.

Water levels are expected to rise between 10-15ft in the areas at risk.

Images captured by NASA's Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite show Irma's impact on the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. For anyone who could be affected by the hurricane, please make sure you are as prepared as possible.

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But forecasters have warned the threat to life still remains.

The BBC reports that five people were killed when the storm ripped through the British Virgin Islands and the islands' premier, Orlando Smith, has appealed to the United Kingdom for long-term support recovering from the storm. Almost 40 deaths were reported across the Caribbean.

Charlotte Grayson, from London, whose father and two 11-year-old siblings live in the badly-hit island of Tortola, said they were "struggling" to obtain basic supplies.

Britain's response to Irma has been criticised by some local inhabitants as too slow with some complaining about a breakdown of law and order and being left to fend for themselves. "It will be done quickly, it will be done well and it will be done better", he said.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson planned a trip to survey the Caribbean after family members of those stranded said their relatives were starving and alone.

French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to the hurricane-battered region on Tuesday, but Downing Street was "not aware of any plans" for British ministers to visit the Caribbean disaster zone.

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As with Irma, Jose's exact threat to the United States is still unknown and will be determined over the coming days. Sine said a high surf and an increased risk of rip currents this weekend are likely impacts of Jose.

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