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As it happened: Hurricane Irma batters Cuba, heads for Florida

Joe Raedle, Getty Images/AFP | Dario Perdomo carries his pillow and essentials as he prepares to take a Lyft ride to a shelter as he evacuates his condo before the arrival of Hurricane Irma on September 8, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Hurricane Irma on Friday was heading towards the US state of Florida, leaving at least 22 people dead in the Caribbean as it closes in on the United States. Follow the day's events as they happened with FRANCE 24's liveblog below.

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  • Hurricane Irma is now heading towards the US state of Florida, where authorities ordered half a million people to evacuate. It was downgraded on Friday to a Category 4 storm but remains very dangerous and could lead to massive flooding in Florida.
  • The US states of Georgia and Carolina have also declared emergencies.
  • Irma has left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean, with at least 22 people killed, according to the AP news agency. The dead include 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the US Virgin Islands and four in the British Virgin Islands. Three people were killed in Barbuda, Anguilla and Barbados.
  • Another Category 4 hurricane, Jose, is heading towards the Caribbean islands already devastated by Irma.
  • Speaking at a crisis centre set up at the interior ministry, French President Emmanuel Macron said he expects the final toll in terms of deaths and damage "will be harsh and cruel" and a national reconstruction plan will be drawn up for the affected territories.

To follow the liveblog on a mobile or tablet device please click here.

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