KINGSTON, Jamaica, Sept. 9, CMC – Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Sir Hilary Beckles says the institution stands ready to assist in recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
In a statement on Friday, Beckles also expressed concern for the people of the Caribbean “who have borne and continue to bear the brunt of Hurricane Irma as it continues on a path of devastation across the Northern Caribbean with Hurricane Jose following close behind.”
“We extend heartfelt condolences to the families and communities that have lost loved ones as a consequence of the storms. We also wish to let our neighbours and friends in the United States know that they are in our thoughts and prayers as they prepare to meet Hurricane Irma.”
Sir Hilary noted that the storms come at a time when Caribbean nations are struggling to regain a forward development trajectory and can ill afford to have their infrastructure and investment opportunities so negatively impacted.
“The images of the destruction wrought on the countries of the Caribbean speak to significant reconstruction and attendant costs,” he said.
“However, despite their desolation, the voices of the people speak to courage, strength, resilience and a determination to move ahead with their lives.”
Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Miami based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) discontinued hurricane warnings for the Central Bahamas The Hurricane Warning for the Central Bahamas and the Ragged Island.
A Hurricane Watch was also dropped for Antigua and a Hurricane Warning has been dropped for Barbuda.
At 8:00 am (local time), Irma – now a Category 4 storm was hitting the north coast of Cuba .
The NHC says a northwest motion is expected to begin on Saturday afternoon with a turn toward the north-northwest late Saturday and on to Sunday.
On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba th and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning.
The hurricane is expected to be near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon.