Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

"Enormous damage" on Dutch side of Saint Martin Island, Navy says

Video AP Evacuees stand in line to enter the Germain Arena which is being used as a fallout shelter for Hurricane Irma in Fl Video AP Evacuees stand in line to enter the Germain Arena which is being used as a fallout shelter for Hurricane Irma in Fl
Howard Terry | 10 September, 2017, 08:11

Eight people have been killed on the French side of the island.

"Alas, the island is not reachable at this point because of the huge damage to the airport and the harbor", Prime Minister Rutte told reporters in the Netherlands.

"We will continue to closely monitor the developments of Hurricane Irma as it passes over our area and keep all our personnel, users and stakeholders informed of any further developments".

The island's Juliana Airport, famous for the images of tourists lying on Mayo Beach with planes landing just yards behind them, is damaged. One government official said 95% of the island has been destroyed by Irma.

There have been reports of island-wide destruction across St Maarten.

The island has been one of the worst hit by the hurricane. Nearby buildings appeared to have had their roofs torn off and debris appeared scattered across the airport's field.

Princess Juliana Airport, on the Island of St. Martin, has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma's Category 5 winds.

Andre van der Kamp, commander of the Dutch ship Zeeland, tweeted to say the Zeeland and Pelikaan would be trying to moor on Sint Maarten to deliver emergency aid, but they needed to complete a safety check of the port first.

As a hurricane that has led many to question the scale in which we categorize storms, according to The New York Times, the weight of the devastation will take months to be fully realized as the United States braces for impact.

It is expected to hit Florida early Sunday morning.

Dutch Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said he briefly had contact with Saint Martin's prime minister but communications are sporadic.

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