Emmanuel Macron vows to rebuild French Caribbean after Hurricane Irma devastation

Hurricane Irma

France President, Emmanuel Macron travelled to the Caribbean Islands on Tuesday evening in the French territory of Saint Martin amidst looting and lawlessness that sprung up from the remains of Hurricane Irma in the French-Dutch territory, The Local reports.

Macron's visit to the islands of St Martin and St Barts comes nearly a week since Hurricane Irma roared over the region as a maximum Category Five storm, leaving at least 10 dead on French territory and a wide trail of destruction.

"It's been very useful to see for myself what awful damage this storm has done and in this way to also show the population of St. Martin and the governor and prime minister that we stand together here as a kingdom and that we will solve this together", he told reports on the island.

Looting, gunshots and a lack of clean drinking water were reported on the French Caribbean territory of St. Martin, home to five-star resorts and a multimillion estate owned by President Donald Trump. The Norwegian Cruise Line turned a cruise ship into an ad-hoc rescue boat, sending a ship with 10 restaurants, a spa and a casino to evacuate 2,000 tourists from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Martin was one of the hardest-hit islands where 10 people were killed.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Monday unveiled the government's reconstruction plan for the islands.

"He will be there on Tuesday morning", Collomb said after meeting Macron at the Elysee presidential palace.

Meanwhile, a mother picking up her daughter, a survivor who flew to Paris on Monday, said with condition of anonymity that government help was non-existent on Saint Martin.

Jose passed 135 kilometres (80 miles) north of Saint Barts, a haven for the rich and famous formally called Saint Barthelemy whose celebrity visitors have included Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow.

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.

The French, British and Dutch governments have faced criticism for failing to anticipate the disaster, with an editorial in The Telegraph newspaper calling the response "appallingly slow".

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said he believes the European Union should send relief funds to both the French and the Dutch sides of St. Martin, and said he would also appeal to the United Nations to help the islands.

But he hit back at opposition figures of the left and right who accused authorities of failing to foresee the crisis, saying they were "instrumentalizing suffering".

Many homes on St. Barts are destroyed.

Hundreds of tourists were still trying to leave the island, with dozens lining up outside St. Maarten's Princess Juliana Airport, where only five large letters of its name remained.

He said he had little information on what to do and "no information or addresses" for those rendered homeless.

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

Four people are now known to have died on Sint Maarten, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Sunday, raising the death toll there from two.

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