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Macron visits French territory of St Martin over Hurricane Irma
14 September 2017, 12:32 | Rufus Hill
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Reuters/Christophe Ena/Pool France's President Emmanuel Macron comforts residents during his visit to St Martin yesterday.
He brought with him 10 tonnes of supplies, but there is demand for much more.
Gaston Browne, the prime minister of the twin-island nation, said 95 per cent of the buildings on Barbuda had been reduced to rubble.
Meanwhile, hundreds of people across the island shared by Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin were trying to rebuild the lives they had before the hurricane hit. Several U.S. Navy ships were in the islands, ferrying in heavy equipment for a recovery effort led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its local equivalent.
"What I see are people coming who are hungry, who are exhausted, who are thirsty and need help", said the Rev. Jeff Neevel, the pastor of the St. Thomas Reformed Church in the Virgin Islands capital, Charlotte Amalie.
To the east, in the Leeward Islands known as the playground for the rich and famous, governments came under criticism for failing to respond quickly to the hurricane, which flattened many towns and turned lush, green hills to brown stubble.
Some 40,000 people live on the French side of St. Martin, and about the same number on the Dutch side.
British Virgin Islands (BVI) Premier Orlando Smith said in a statement: "Rebuilding an entire territory is no small undertaking".
Barbuda, an island southwest of Saint Barthelemy that was razed by Hurricane Irma last week, also was passed by Jose.
About 1,900 French police and troops are now on the ground to ensure security in St. Martin and power has been restored in about 50 percent of its homes, the French president said.
In France, opposition firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon has demanded a parliamentary inquiry into whether enough security forces have been sent to restore order on St Martin after looting broke out after the storm.
Olive said there has been some "disgusting" looting and desperation but also hopeful signs.
"The risk is worse when people have also lost everything - their homes, businesses, work".
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 co-ordinated.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson traveled yesterday to the Caribbean to visit British territories devastated by Irma.
The National Hurricane Center says a hurricane hunter airplane found Irma's winds dropped from 125 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour, but that's likely to soon increase again now that the center of the storm is over bathtub-warm water.
Before the hurricanes, St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport was one of the former Dutch colony's major tourist draws thanks to a runway that ended just a few meters (yards) from the sandy crescent of Maho Beach, where people could stand and watch as arriving jets skimmed low over their heads.
"We have had a swift response from Britain and we are extremely grateful for it", she told CNN.
"It is an insufficient drop in the Caribbean ocean for islands subject to devastation and inhabited by its own citizens", he wrote in an email.
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