Pacific Hope ship heads to the Caribbean

The MV Pacific Hope has been providing dental and eye surgery to people in the region including remote areas of Vanuatu.

But after the devastation caused by three hurricanes, the ship is getting ready for a four-week long trip to the Carribean.

It is operated by the New Zealand faith-based charity Marine Reach whose chief executive David Cowie said the need is extremely serious.

"Our flag state for our vessel is Dominica and Dominica is a small island nation that was just basically flattened," said Mr Cowie.

Caribbean islands prepare for Hurricane Maria

Tropical Storm Maria was upgraded to a category one hurricane force on Sunday by the US National Hurricane Center.

The storm is currently following roughly the same path as Irma.

As a result, hurricane warnings have been issued for the US and British Virgin Islands, as well as Puerto Rico.

They were all hit by Hurricane Irma - the category five storm which left at least 37 people dead and caused billions of dollars worth of damage - earlier this month.

France has also issued a hurricane warning for its territory of Guadeloupe.

Hurricane Irma: 'Two dead and two seriously injured'

French overseas territories minister Annick Girardin said at least two people had been killed on the islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy.

"We're talking about two dead and two seriously injured for now. Obviously the situation can change very quickly," Ms Giradin said.

She said the French government was launching an emergency plan but it was vital to assess the damage because at these stage authorities could not get access to the worst-hit areas.

President Emmanuel Macron said earlier on Wednesday there were expected to be casualties on the islands.

Island States call at UN for urgent action on climate change

“I speak as an islander who has walked the shores of many atoll islands, where there was once sandy beaches and coconut trees. Now there are none. I am told this will continue,” President Peter Christian of Micronesia told the Assembly on the fourth day of its 70th annual General Debate.

“While we wait in fear for the predicted and inevitable sea level to rise, other effects of global warming, like stronger ocean currents and more frequent typhoons, continue to wash away shorelines and topple tress, not waiting around for the sea to rise above the land.”

North Caribbean braces for rain, wind as Erika approaches

The storm was located about 245 miles (395 kilometers) east-southeast of Antigua and was moving west at 17 mph (28 kph). Maximum sustained winds increased Wednesday morning to near 45 mph (75 kph), but the storm was not forecast to gain strength over the next two days.

Erika was expected to move just north of Barbuda late Wednesday as it enters the Caribbean, said Philmore Mullin, director of Antigua and Barbuda's National Office of Disaster Services.