(BBC News) Hurricane Irma has caused considerable damage on French island territories in the Caribbean, and casualties are expected, France's president says.
The impact of Irma on St Martin and St Barts would be "hard and cruel", Emmanuel Macron added.
His overseas affairs minister later confirmed at least two people dead and another two seriously injured.
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The category five hurricane, the highest possible level, is now passing over the northern Virgin Islands.
The most powerful storm in a decade, with wind speeds of 295km/h (185mph), is also forecast by the US National Hurricane Center to pass near or just north of Puerto Rico, then near or just north of the coast of the Dominican Republic on Thursday.