The Queen has sent a message to the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
In the message, Queen Elizabeth, who is Head of State of the island nations, expressed her ‘shock and sadness’ after hearing reports of the devastation caused by the hurricane.
In full, Her Majesty said: “Prince Philip and I have been shocked and saddened by the reports of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed or adversely affected by this terrible storm.
“Please convey my gratitude and good wishes to members of the emergency services and to those who are working on the rescue effort at this very difficult time for you all.
Hurricane Irma is a category five hurricane, the highest possible level, and has caused widespread destruction across the Caribbean.
Buildings have been reduced to rubble, and at least ten people have been killed as the Irma travels north-westerly.
Reports suggest that Barbuda is now “barely habitable”. Almost all the buildings on the island have suffered major damage, and the death toll is expected to rise.
After passing over Antigua and Barbuda causing huge destruction, Hurricane Irma is now over the Dominican Republic, heading towards Turks and Caicos.
By the weekend, the hurricane is expected to reach the southern United States, with Florida being directly in Irma’s path.
The head of the US emergency agency has warned that there will be a “truly devastating” impact when Hurricane Irma strikes southern coastal areas of the US.
Hurricane Irma is the most powerful Atlantic storm to form in over a decade and has sustained wind speeds of 285km/h.