European official visiting Caribbean islands hit by Irma

Aaron Brown
September 14, 2017

"We continue to work flat out to help the people who have suffered so much in the Caribbean, particularly of course in our overseas territories, in Anguilla, in the Turks and Caicos, and above all in the British Virgin Islands where there's been massive devastation", said Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Debris still clogs the streets, many homes are uninhabitable, communications are still down and tens of thousands are without food, water or power. St. Martin was one of the hardest-hit islands where 10 people were killed.

A medical center was being set up Tuesday in the stadium of Marigot, a port on St. Martin, and a French military ship will provide additional medical facilities in coming days, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

Olive said there has been some "disgusting" looting and desperation but also hopeful signs.

He said more than 500,000 British nationals were affected by Irma.

Hurricane force winds extend 70 miles (110 kilometers) out from the 30-mile (48-kilometer) wide storm eye.

The amphibious assault USS Wasp evacuated hospital patients from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands to St. Croix and Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, the cleanup began on Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, whose northern territories took a substantial hit, with reports of major flooding in the capital Havana.

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 USA state by population. The U.S. Embassy sustained some damage. The Canadian low-priced airline and tour agency Sunwing evacuated some Canadian tourists from St Maarten to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic on Saturday.

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Those left behind on St. Thomas and St. John were surviving on whatever they could find as they tried to fix or secure their houses with whatever materials were available.

French authorities said hundreds of police and army reinforcements will be sent to Saint Martin.

As Jose neared, the last airplane flew in to St. Martin's battered Grande-Case airport Friday carrying workers to help re-establish the island's water supply and electricity. A tanker with 350 tons of fresh water was also on its way.

"I'm relieved, nearly happy", said St Martin resident Donald Tchuisseu, a plastic glass of gin in hand after toasting Jose's mercy with a friend.

"He will be there on Tuesday morning", Collomb said after meeting Macron at the Elysee presidential palace.

Once known for pink sandy beaches that attracted celebrities and royalty, the island of Barbuda is now a disaster zone. "Only social media and solidarity worked", said a mother picking up her daughter at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

"It is an insufficient drop in the Caribbean ocean for islands subject to devastation and inhabited by its own citizens", he wrote in an email.

"We have had a swift response from Britain and we are extremely grateful for it", she told CNN. Neevel said one of the most critical needs he sees was for tarps to protect the many homes that had lost roofs.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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