Residents wade through floodwaters brought on by Hurricane Irma in Fort-Liberte, Haiti, on Friday. Associated Press/Dieu Nalio Chery

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua — Thousands of Irma’s victims across the Caribbean fought desperately to find shelter or escape their storm-blasted islands altogether Friday as another hurricane following close behind threatened to add to their misery.

With Irma and its 155 mph winds taking aim at the Miami metropolitan area of 6 million people, the death toll in the storm’s wake across the Caribbean climbed to 22.

Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the eastern part of Cuba reported no major casualties or damage by midafternoon after Irma rolled north of the Caribbean’s biggest islands.

But many residents and tourists farther east were left reeling after the storm ravaged some of the world’s most exclusive tropical playgrounds, known for their turquoise waters and lush green vegetation. Among them: St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Anguilla.

Irma smashed homes, shops, roads and schools; knocked out power, water and telephone service; trapped thousands of tourists; and stripped trees of their leaves, leaving an eerie, blasted-looking landscape littered with sheet metal and splintered lumber.

On Friday, looting and gunshots were reported on St. Martin, and a curfew was imposed in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Many of Irma’s victims fled their islands on ferries and fishing boats for fear of Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds that could punish some places all over again this weekend.

“I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to know that further damage is imminent,” said Inspector Frankie Thomas of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.

Hurricane Irma left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean this week that officials say will take residents a generation to recover from. While the number of deaths stood at 22 and was certain to rise, residents began to take stock of what was left of their homes and communities. Reuters/Alvin Baez

On Barbuda, a coral island rising a mere 125 feet above sea level, authorities ordered an evacuation of all 1,400 people to neighboring Antigua, where Stevet Jeremiah was reunited with one son and made plans to bury another.

Jeremiah, who sells lobster and crab to tourists, was huddled in her wooden home on Barbuda early Wednesday with her partner and their 2- and 4-year-old boys as Irma ripped open their metal roof and sent the ocean surging into the house.

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma is visible Thursday in Sint Maarten, the Dutch part of St. Martin. The death toll in the Caribbean climbed to 22 Friday. Netherlands Ministry of Defence via Reuters

Her younger son, Carl Junior Francis, was swept away. Neighbors found his body after sunrise.

“Two years old. He just turned 2, the 17th, last month. Just turned 2,” she repeated. Her first task, she said, would be to organize his funeral. “That’s all I can do. There is nothing else I can do.”

The dead included 11 on St. Martin and St. Barts, four in the U.S. Virgin Islands, four in the British Virgin Islands and one each on Anguilla and Barbuda.

Also, a 16-year-old junior professional surfer drowned Tuesday in Barbados while surfing large swells generated by an approaching Irma.

Many victims picked through the rubble of what had once been Caribbean dream getaway homes.

On St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, power lines and towers were toppled, a water and sewage treatment plant was heavily damaged, and the harbor was in ruins, along with hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses.

In Florida and Georgia, more than 6 million people were warned to evacuate, clogging interstates as far away as Atlanta.