France's president and Dutch king visit hurricane-ravaged Caribbean islands

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Associated Press

France's president and the Dutch king visited Caribbean territories that were hammered by Hurricane Irma, bringing in much-needed food, water and medical supplies amid accusations that European governments were unprepared, slow to react and sometimes even racist in their responses to the devastation.

British troops, numbering 1000, have been deployed in Britain’s Caribbean territories.
Source: BBC

The visit came as residents tried to revive a sense of normalcy amid the chaos and destruction wrought by the Category 5 hurricane with small gestures like sharing radios and rescuing dogs.

The Dutch Red Cross said more than 200 people were still listed as missing on St. Maarten, but with communications extremely spotty a week after the storm hit it wasn't clear how many were simply without cell service and power and unable to let friends and family know they survived.

The organisation said 90 per cent of buildings on the Dutch territory were damaged and a third destroyed as Irma roared across the island it shares with French St. Martin.

Yogesh Bodha, a jewelry store employee, said that there was no response from European officials for two days and that he hasn't seen many changes since Dutch authorities arrived on St. Maarten.

"They should've been more organised than they were," he said. "We have not received any food or water. They say it's on its way. Let's see."

For Liseth Echevarría, who works as a bartender in St. Maarten, offering whatever she could to family, strangers and abandoned pets was helping her cope - and those around her were doing the same.

The manager of a marina next door threw over a hose so Echevarría and her husband could have a semblance of an outdoor shower.

He also offered them a temporary power connection from his generator so they could charge phones and listen to the sole radio station still broadcasting.

"This is the only communication that St. Maarten has with the world right now," she said.

More vision from Hurricane Irma

A crew from WCIV-TV in Charleston spotted the water spout as the region dealt with flooding and severe winds from Irma.
Source: Associated Press
The remnants of Hurricane Irma is causing flooding in the state with early reports of deaths.
Source: Associated Press
There is a rising sense of panic amid long lines for scarce resources.
Source: Associated Press

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