The Latest: Hurricane upends Delaware couple's celebration
Updated 7:49 am, Wednesday, September 13, 2017
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) — The latest on Hurricane Irma's devastation in the Caribbean (all times local):
A Delaware couple got more than they bargained for after traveling to St. Martin to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Rose Marie Murray says that just hours after enjoying a gourmet French meal at a St. Martin restaurant last Tuesday, she and her husband, Andrew, were huddled in a tiny bathroom of their apartment at Grand Case Beach Club while Hurricane Irma unleashed its fury.
Mrs. Murray says the couple comforted each for several hours as the storm ripped off the apartment's roof, flooded their bathroom refuge and slung the furniture into piles of wreckage.
Afterward, the Murrays banded together with resort workers and other guests to care for one another. Mrs. Murray, a retired nurse, said she used gin and vodka to try to disinfect wounds of those who were injured.
She recounted the ordeal in a telephone interview Tuesday from Puerto Rico while the couple waited for a flight back to the U.S.
U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp says the state of New York will be providing security assistance as the territory recovers from Hurricane Irma.
Mapp told reporters Tuesday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed to sending 100 state troopers and members of the New York National Guard. They will be flown into the Virgin Islands by FEMA.
Mapp says the New York troops and police officers will help with security on St. Thomas and St. John. They will assist Virgin Islands authorities and U.S. military troops.
He has said there have not been any major crimes since the storm or in the aftermath but they are mobilizing troops "to make sure we have the appropriate security apparatus in place."
French President Emmanuel Macron says residents of hard-hit St. Martin will see a big change by week's end "because many things will be reopened."
It was the second stop of his visit to French Caribbean islands hammered by Hurricane Irma.
Macron arrived Tuesday afternoon, touring streets littered with debris, surveying destroyed buildings and speaking to residents. He tells them he wants a quick recovery.
Macron's plane brought water, food and tons of medicine and emergency equipment. The president is also being accompanied by doctors and experts in charge of evaluating the damage.
The president was scheduled to move on to St. Barts.
The French government says the airport in St. Barts is reopening Wednesday and flight restrictions over the island are being lifted for the first time since Irma hit.
French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in St. Martin, the second stop of his visit to French Caribbean islands hammered by Hurricane Irma.
Images on social media show Macron touring debris-littered streets and speaking with residents on the hard-hit island. Later, he'll travel to St. Barts.
Macron's plane brought water, food and tons of medicine and emergency equipment. The president is also being accompanied by doctors and experts who will be in charge of evaluating the damage.
U.S. Virgin Islands Police Commissioner Delroy Richards is denying reports spreading on social media and elsewhere of reports of violent crime in the territory in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Richards says there have been no reports of serious crime associated with the storm or its aftermath. He said there have been some arrests for curfew violations on St. Thomas.
The police commission and Gov. Kenneth Mapp said in a statement Tuesday that reports of widespread looting on St. John and the theft of firearms there are also untrue.
Police spokesman Glen Dratte said there have been four confirmed deaths on St. Thomas as a result of the storm but he could not provide details.
The United Nations says it's airlifting food to Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says the World Food Program is flying in some 20 metric tons of high-energy biscuits, enough to feed nearly 17,000 people for three days. They'll go to a newly established hub in Antigua, where the population of Barbuda has been evacuated, and to nearby St. Martin.
He says that will be followed by "cash-based assistance" for some 20,000 people on islands in the eastern Caribbean whose livelihoods have been ruined.
Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday that WFP is also launching an emergency operation in western Caribbean islands including the Turks and Caicos, which is serving as an operational hub.
Dujarric said the U.N. is also airlifting other crucial items including mobile storage units, tarpaulins, prefab housing, generators and other logistics and telecommunications support equipment.
He said WFP has also offered to provide food and logistical assistance to Cuba where the agency's Executive Director David Beasley hopes to visit this week.
The Dutch Red Cross says 90 percent of buildings in Dutch St. Maarten were damaged and a third destroyed as Hurricane Irma roared across the Caribbean island it shares with French St. Martin.
Red Cross officials say more than 200 people are still listed as missing as people on the island try to clean up a week after the storm hit.
Authorities are still trying to get a complete picture of the damage. The Red Cross said Tuesday that it will use drones to help assess the situation and has brought in extra staff to help register victims for assistance.
The Dutch Red Cross says some 90 percent of buildings on the Dutch side of St. Maarten suffered damage during Hurricane Irma.
The agency said Tuesday it made the determination after studying aerial photographs of the island after the storm.
As of Tuesday, there are 450 Dutch troops helping out on the island and another 150 on their way, mainly to maintain law and order and to help repair vital infrastructure.
Gen. Maj. Richard Oppelaar says troops are focused in particular on distributing water — both bottled and via trucks at distribution points.
Hans Leijtens is the civil servant put in charge of the Dutch end of hurricane recovery. He says that there were some delays in coordinating aid delivery due to Hurricane Jose over the weekend.
President Donald Trump is planning a visit soon to see the damage wrought by Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp said the visit would take place in about a week, but gave no details.
Mapp previously said he had spoken to the president about the storm that has done major damage to homes and businesses in St. Thomas and St. John.
The White House said Tuesday that it hasn't yet firmed up plans for the visit.
The Public Prosecutor's office in Dutch St. Maarten says police and soldiers there have put an end to what it calls "large-scale robberies and looting" in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
The office released a statement saying it doesn't know how many people have been arrested, but that some accused of minor offenses have been released and some have been assigned to help the Caribbean island clean up from the ravages of the storm.
The government only has enough space to detain only those accused of the most serious offenses. The statement released Tuesday says that authorities there have photos and videos of suspects involved in looting and robbery and will be working with the public to identify them in the coming days.
France's President Emmanuel Macron says the government's "top priority" is to help people return to normal life in French Caribbean territories that have been hit by Hurricane Irma.
Macron said in a news conference in Guadeloupe on Tuesday that a major air bridge is bringing emergency aid and rescuers to the island of St. Martin and St. Barts. He said about 1,900 police and troops are now on the ground to ensure security in St. Martin, where 11 people were killed.
Macron said power has been restored in about 50 percent of homes in St. Martin.
He also said he hoped some schools will be able to open as soon as next week. All of the island's schools have been damaged or destroyed.
French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Guadeloupe, the first step of his visit to French Caribbean islands hammered by Hurricane Irma.
Macron is meeting in Pointe-a-Pitre airport with rescuers and local authorities officials to discuss the support and aid they can bring to nearby St. Martin and St. Barts islands, the hardest-hit by the storm.
He'll then be heading to St. Martin to meet with residents, and then to St. Barts.
Macron's plane is bringing water, food and tons of medicines and emergency equipment. The president is also being accompanied by doctors and experts who will be in charge of evaluating the damage.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is traveling to the Caribbean to oversee British aid to islands stricken by Hurricane Irma.
The Foreign Office says Johnson will arrive in Barbados on Tuesday and make trips to the heavily damaged British Virgin Islands and to Anguilla.
Johnson has rebuffed charges that Britain has been slow in its response to the catastrophic storm that caused severe damage to many islands.
Britain has already sent more than 700 soldiers and 50 police officers to the British Virgin Islands to help restore order there. A landing ship is in place and a Royal Navy ship will join it.
The foreign secretary plans to meet with governors and with officials leading recovery work.
He says Britain has made an unprecedented effort to help.
French 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.
Macron's plane is bringing water, food and tons of medicines and emergency equipment. He will first visit Guadeloupe on Tuesday morning before heading to St. Martin to meet with residents, and then to St. Barts.
The president is also being accompanied by doctors and experts who will be in charge of evaluating the damage. St. Martin was one of the hardest-hit islands where 10 people were killed.
About 1,500 troops, police and emergency workers were on the ground to help islanders, and 500 others were expected to arrive in the coming days, according to French authorities.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander says the scenes of devastation he witnessed on the Caribbean island of St. Martin in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma are the worst he's ever seen.
In images broadcast by Dutch national network NOS, Willem-Alexander said he's seen a lot of war zones in his life but never anything like this.
Willem-Alexander arrived on the island Monday and said he was encouraged to see residents already working together to rebuild the shattered capital, Philipsburg.
St. Martin is an island shared between a French territory and the former Dutch colony of St. Maarten, a largely autonomous part of the Dutch kingdom with a population of around 40,000.
Willem-Alexander is scheduled to fly Tuesday to the nearby Dutch islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, which also were hit by Irma, but suffered less damage than St. Martin.
Hundreds of people across an island shared by Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin are trying to rebuild the lives they had before Hurricane Irma hit.
Help was making it to the island, from the Dutch and French governments, other nations and private organizations. A French military ship with supplies was due to arrive Tuesday, coinciding with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Hundreds of tourists are still trying to leave the island, with dozens lining up outside the Princess Juliana Airport, where only five large letters of its name remains.
Amid a widespread power outage, many are struggling to maintain a semblance of the life they had before Irma as they fight off hunger and thirst.
An earlier version of this report had an incorrect spelling referring to Dutch side of the island to St. Maarten.
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