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These pictures show how people in Florida are preparing for Hurricane Irma

The storm is expected to hit the US state on Sunday, having already wreaked havoc on several Caribbean islands.

Hurricane Irma has brought widespread devastation to parts of the Caribbean, leaving at least 20 people dead.

Now a Category 4 storm, it is expected to hit Florida by Sunday, after approaching Cuba’s north coast and central Bahamas.

A state of emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico and Florida, as well as Cuba, while relief efforts get under way in already-hit parts of the Caribbean.

President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Rick Scott have issued warnings to the state’s residents to evacuate as soon as possible, with the former tweeting: “Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion.”

Here are some images showing how residents of the southern US state are preparing for potential destruction.

Volunteers help residents fill free sandbags in Miami

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Voluneers in Miami fill sandbags ahead of Irma

Workers shutter Mango’s Tropical Cafe in Miami Beach

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Workers shutter Mango's Tropical Cafe in Miami Beach

A motorist carries sheets of plywood on top of a car as he leaves Home Depot, a home improvement store

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Motorist carries plywood on top of a car

A sign on the door of a business in Little Havana, Miami, announces it is closing “until the storm passes”

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Sign on a shop dor warns customers that it us closed due o Irma

Jone Yoon, right, boards up his souvenir shop on Daytona beach, with help from employee Charles Llanton

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Workers board up their beach souvenir shop in Daytona beach

A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, is being loaded with Department for International Development aid before being flown to affected areas

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A Royal Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

Soldiers book equipment in at the Joint Air Mounting Centre in South Cerney, Gloucestershire, ready to deploy to Operation Ruman as part of the UK’s response

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St Johns County residents wait for the arrival of sandbags, as storm surges of up to 10ft are expected in some places

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Florida residents await the arrival of sandbags

Sand is dumped along a Florida highway next to Flagler beach

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Sand is dumped on a Florida beach

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From Belfast Telegraph