It could be days before rescue workers can fully assess the extent of the aid needed — and losses inflicted — by both storms.
“That is not only stopping all of the work we began in the last few days,” Mr. Hamoir said, referring to Hurricane Jose. “It means we will have to start everything over again in three days.”
Across a band of the Caribbean islands, aid workers had been racing to get supplies to populations stripped of practically everything. By early Saturday, in a rare bit of good news, it looked as if some of the hardest hit islands, like Antigua and Barbuda, would avoid the worst of Jose, as the storm’s course looked set to bypass them.
The United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, along with Antigua, dropped their hurricane warnings to tropical storm watches, while Barbuda and Anguilla downgraded their warnings by Saturday afternoon.
St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, however, two of the islands ravaged by Irma, were still under a hurricane watch.
The full damage from Irma has not yet been calculated, but the early estimates are grim: The islands of St. Martin and St. Barthélemy, were approximately 80 to 90 percent destroyed; for Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla, the figures are similar.
In Cuba, Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage on Friday night when the eye of the storm passed directly north of the provinces of Camagüey and Ciego de Ávila in the central part of the island. The authorities have not yet made a substantive announcement about the extent of the damage to the area, where more than 50 hotels and resorts generate significant revenue for a nation that is short of cash.
Damage to these resorts, along with heavy agricultural losses and reconstruction costs elsewhere in the country, will be a major economic strain on the country.
Residents woke up Saturday morning to see whole houses destroyed, and roofs ripped off warehouses. The few images trickling in, however, suggest that the destruction in Cuba is not as cataclysmic as it is on islands elsewhere in the Caribbean.
The island of Guadeloupe, which was spared by Hurricane Irma, has become a staging ground for aid efforts, with hundreds of largely French rescue workers using it as an operational hub.
The French relief operation has been one of starts and, for now, stops, but efforts to help those on the British Virgin Islands have only just begun. Interviews with a half-dozen people trapped on the island of Tortola,…