Martin Bureau/Agence France-Presse
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France’s meteorological agency on Saturday issued its highest warning for the Caribbean islands of St Martin and St Barts as Hurricane Jose bore down, three days after they were hit by Hurricane Irma.

The alert warned of a “dangerous event of exceptional intensity,” with winds that could reach 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour, and strong rains and high waves.

St Barts is a French overseas territory, as is the French part of St Martin, which is divided between France and the Netherlands.

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Twelve people were killed on the two islands by Hurricane Irma, thousands of buildings were flattened and the authorities are struggling to control looting.

The French state-owned reinsurer CCR on Saturday estimated the damage at 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

Irma is now heading for Florida, where a total of 6.3 million people have been ordered to evacuate, according to state authorities.

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