After Irma, Saint-Martin, Saint Barthelemy brace for Hurricane Jose


PARIS (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron will visit French Caribbean islands hammered by Hurricane Irma where residents have criticized the government for not doing enough to prepare them for the storm's devastation.

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.

St. Martin was one of the hardest-hit islands where 10 people were killed.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said he believes the European Union should send relief funds to both the French and the Dutch sides of the island, despite their differing relationships to their former colonial powers. Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, will pass the island to the north and dump more rain.

In a news conference in the Pointe-a-Pitre airport, Macron said the government's "top priority" is to help island residents return to normal life.

Residents on the island have spoken of hunger, homelessness, a lack of water and a feeling of abandonment after the hurricane pummeled the region on Wednesday.

Atlantic hurricanes
Atlantic hurricanes

Britain, too, has faced criticism that it has been slow to help its citizens caught up in the disaster - including in the British Virgin Islands, where five people were killed.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander, who arrived on Monday, said the scenes of devastation he witnessed on St Maarten in the hurricane's aftermath were the worst he had ever seen. A Dutch commander also shared video of dialysis patients being transported off the island.

He said he was encouraged to see residents already working together to rebuild the shattered capital, Philipsburg.

The Dutch Department of Defense tweeted videos of troops delivering water to the island of Saba on Saturday.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended his Government's response to what he called an "unprecedented catastrophe" and promised to increase funding for the relief effort.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander was the first notable to visit the Dutch side of Saint Martin on Monday and was scheduled to fly to two other smaller Dutch islands on Tuesday. "These are British people, these are British overseas territories, and we are going to be there for the long term", Johnson said.

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