French leader to go to hurricane-hit St. Martin

Alan Duncan, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, said he was "dismayed by the sweeping criticism", and noted the British territories were self-governing.

Macron's plane touched down in St. Martin as anger grew over looting and lawlessness in the French-Dutch territory after Hurricane Irma.

"If you DO get a call from anyone in VG - our shop there might have clothes and shelter in Leverick Bay", said the owner of Dive BVI on Facebook. Over 90 percent of buildings on the Dutch side of the island were damaged, and 1/3 of the buildings were destroyed, the agency said, adding they would use drones to better assess the damage.

Widespread flooding swept across the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This comes after the, then category five, hurricane made landfall last week.

Nils Erickson has lived on the US Virgin Island of St. John since 1994 but had recently returned to the US and watched the storm unfold from his home in Newport, Rhode Island.

Marlin said many countries and people have offered help to St. Maarten, but authorities are waiting on the weather conditions to see how this can be coordinated. There was no communication coming out of St. Thomas and St. John. "We've gotten 800 people out so far from St. John and St. Thomas".

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

But the French government has claimed it is far more hard to arrange evacuation from islands than it is on a mainland where people can use their own vehicles to drive to safety.

Briton Claudia Knight said her partner is carrying a knife for protection on the island of Tortola as "it's turning really nasty", The Guardian reported.

Newlywed Frances Bradley-Villier said all that was left in St. Martin was "devastation".

"I've come here today as a manifestation of this solidarity".

Officials said they were waiting for Jose to pass through before distributing food rations and water.

"It's very bad right now".

Ensuring a return to normal life is an "absolute priority", Macron said, speaking while still on the tarmac soon after landing. About 1,500 troops, police and emergency workers are now on the ground and some 500 others were expected to arrive in the coming days, according to French authorities.

But Castaner insisted President Emmanuel Macron's government deployed robust emergency planning methods and sent plenty of equipment to the islands.He said officials had known of the "extremely high risk" days in advance and had mobilized military and health care personnel in nearby Guadeloupe.

Mr. Macron said the government would boost the number of reinforcements of police and soldiers to 3,000 to maintain law and order on the French side of St. Martin, where looting has been rampant since the storm hit.

Hurricane Irma first struck the dual-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda on Wednesday.

The EU also announced an initial aid package of $2.4 million for emergency relief.

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