European official visiting Caribbean islands hit by Irma

European official visiting Caribbean islands hit by Irma

European official visiting Caribbean islands hit by Irma

France's president and the Dutch king visited Caribbean territories on Tuesday that have been hammered by Hurricane Irma, trying to quell accusations by residents that European governments were unprepared, slow to react and sometimes even racist in their responses to the devastation.

"Emmanuel Macron will leave to Saint Martin on Tuesday morning with goods and reinforcements", French interior minister Gerard Collomb told journalists on Sunday after a meeting with Macron at the Elysee palace in Paris.

Twelve people were killed on the two islands by Hurricane Irma, thousands of buildings were flattened and the authorities are struggling to control looting.

"We have only 12 bottles of water for a family of three to wash and drink", said Saint Barts resident Olivier Toussaint.

The French energy group EDF said it would send 140 tonnes of electrical equipment including generators and pumps to the islands from nearby Guadeloupe as soon as conditions permit.

As for the Dutch side, the Dutch Red Cross described it as a "race against time to get the relief to the affected area".

"Is there still a life here?" wondered Michelene Jean-Charles, a heavily pregnant 23-year-old resident of St Martin, which is divided between France and the Netherlands.

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Sint Maarten, as it is known in Dutch, is an independent nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with a population of around 40,000 people, around the same amount of people living on the French side of the island.

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"I am here to talk about reconstruction", he said, according to CNN.

The Netherlands, UK and U.S. have also been criticised for the response to destruction on the Carribbean islands caused by the Category 5 hurricane.

The new hurricane was 125 kilometres from Saint Martin, 95 percent of which has already been ravaged by Hurricane Irma, which struck Wednesday and reached Florida yesterday.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced a package of about $55 million for the relief effort in the British overseas territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Turks & Caicos. Another Royal Navy ship, HMS Ocean, has left Gibraltar and will be active in the Caribbean in about 10 days, he said.

Her husband, Dominique Vilier, told CNN there had been looting and robbing in the wake of the hurricane, which has left them without food and water.

The British have no military bases in the Caribbean, while the French have a 1,000-man garrison on Martinique, and the Dutch have a permanent naval base on Curaçao. "The geography of the homes was not adapted to the risks", he said.

Eleven people have been arrested for theft, it said.

Macron traveled last night to St. Martin, where French government minister, Annick Girardin, has been visited such a territory for several days.

"I've never experienced a hurricane before in my life".

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