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Hurricane Jose spares Saint Martin Island

Hurricane Jose spares Saint Martin Island”

French President Emmanuel Macron flew into Guadeloupe and was heading to hard-hit St. Martin to meet with residents.

Dutch Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said two people had died and 43 were injured - 11 of them seriously - in Dutch Saint Martin, while France said nine died on its part of the island and on St. Barts.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander was due to land later on Sunday in Curacao from where the Dutch aid operation is being coordinated.

Nearly 700 British troops have been deployed and 17 officers from London's Metropolitan Police have also been sent following reports of looting. Another four people were killed on St. Maarten.

Ahead of Jose's expected arrival later Saturday in Barbuda, Prime Minister Gaston Browne ordered the emergency evacuation of that island's entire population, about 1,600 people, to neighboring Antigua, which was spared the brunt of Irma.

Adding to the stress of lack of food and shelter were reports of widespread looting by armed gangs. "There's no water here", said 70-year-old Germania Perez.

"Everything has been destroyed where I work". She said 90% of homes on Anguilla were damaged. "When I got to this neighborhood, I cried". Almost 160 were evacuated last Friday and approximately 700 more last Saturday.

At a news conference in the Pointe-a-Pitre airport before departing for St. Martin, Macron said the government's "top priority" was to help island residents return to normal life. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon and conservative politician Eric Ciotti called Sunday for a parliamentary inquiry into the government's handling of Irma, Macron's first major challenge.

Most people in Cuba's coastal area live in one-story homes, putting them at great risk as floodwaters rose to roof level in some places.

Macron held another emergency meeting Sunday night to discuss the hurricanes. The Dutch military are using the runway, which was inundated by high tides during the hurricane, to ferry in aid supplies, but say it's not yet open to civilian flights, as there are no runway lights or air-traffic control. Camp beds, sleeping bags and life-saving equipment were also sent.

Both France and the Netherlands are rushing in logistical support, as well as hundreds of extra police to tackle looting.

"We will not abandon Sint Maarten", he vowed, referring to the island's alternative name in Dutch.

"We have enough fresh water for all of us to survive for two weeks, if we ration", Catherine Clayton, whose family owns an eight-room hotel in Josiah's Bay, a relatively remote corner of the largest BVI island Tortola, told the New York Times. "Other countries with tourists - the Canadians, the Americans - don't have that".

The Dutch government has particularly been faulted for delays in organising rescue flights to bring home tourists left stranded when the storm hit the Caribbean on Wednesday.

Another 44 soldiers will arrive on Monday, and 120 more will be deployed from The Netherlands to the stricken Caribbean island.



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