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PARIS, Sept 7 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Thursday said four bodies had been recovered on Saint Martin after Hurricane Irma swept the Caribbean island, revising down an earlier death toll.
With winds of around 175 mph (290 kph), the storm lashed several small islands in the northeast Caribbean, including St Martin and St Barthelemy, tearing down trees, flattening homes and causing widespread damage.
"The death toll is still uncertain because clearing operations are under way," Philippe told a news conference at a crisis centre in Paris. About 50 people have been injured.
"There is considerable damage," Philippe said, adding that local authorities in Saint Martin said 95 percent of the houses there had been damaged, and 60 percent were uninhabitable.
"There is no electricity, no drinkable water, gasoline is unavailable."
Philippe said the government would on Friday declare a state of emergency, facilitating insurance compensation.
He said no bodies had been found on Saint Barthelemy. On Thursday morning, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb had said eight people had been killed on the two islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy.
A government official said later that in the confusion surrounding the hurricane, that figure included people who had died for reasons unrelated to Irma. (Reporting by Ingrid Melander; editing by Richard Lough)