(Updates death toll)
PARIS, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The cost of Hurricane Irma, described as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, is seen costing at least 1.2 billion euros ($1.44 billion) in Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy, a French public reinsurance body said on Saturday.
Irma walloped Cuba’s northern coast on Saturday as a Category 5 storm and was expected to hit Florida on Sunday morning, threatening massive damage from wind and flooding to the fourth-largest U.S. state by population.
France’s Caisse Centrale de Reassurance, a state-owned reinsurance group, said Irma would go down as one of the most damaging disasters in decades on French territory.
Saint Barthelemy lies about 35 km southeast of Saint Martin, whose territory is divided between France and the Netherlands.
The French interior ministry said on Saturday that 10 people had been reported dead on the two islands.
$1 = 0.8310 euros Reporting by Matthias Blamont; editing by Jason Neely