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Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild France's hurricane-devastated islands

Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild France's hurricane-devastated islands”

At least 24 people were killed by Irma in the Caribbean, Reuters reported Sunday. St. Martin was one of the hardest-hit islands where 10 people were killed.

So far, the entire death toll from the natural disaster throughout the Caribbean has reached 36.

Willem-Alexander was scheduled to fly Tuesday to the nearby Dutch islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, which also were hit by Irma, but suffered less damage than St. Martin.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, there were reported shortages of food, water and medicine - alongside claims of looting and unrest, in particular on the Franco-Dutch island of St Martin - as supplies stockpiled for the hurricane and its immediate aftermath began to run out.

"It is certain that some want to leave, and we will help them in that effort".

Residents on the island have spoken of hunger, homelessness, a lack of water and a feeling of abandonment after the hurricane pummeled the region on Wednesday.

St Martin/St Marteen is just one of several small islands flattened by the storm.

When the questioning of the French government's response to the crisis on the two islands affected by the cyclone, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy is now growing, Emmanuel Macron will spend the whole day in order to meet and dialogue with local authorities and inhabitants.

The relief operation coincided with growing realisation of the sheer scale of the destruction caused by the storm with islands reporting up to 90 per cent of homes destroyed or damaged. Evacuations are still underway in the Caribbean, where more aid is arriving after the hurricane raked a destructive path through the continental United States. Evacuees were told to expect long lines and no running water when they arrived at the airport.

"(We're missing) gas for vehicles, diesel gas for generators, diesel gas for all the trucks and front loaders needed to clear the rubble".

Newlywed Frances Bradley-Villier said all that was left in St. Martin was "devastation". "I've seen a lot of war zones in my life, but I've never seen anything like this".

One British couple said yesterday that they had been refused permission to board a French evacuation flight from St Martin after the crew reportedly said they did not have permission to take "refugees".

A medical centre 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.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will visit the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla to see the relief effort first-hand, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Blondel Cluff, Anguilla's representative to the USA and the European Union, told CNN that 15,000 people were now stranded on the island and dependent on humanitarian aid for their basic needs.



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