The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015
Feature The Week In News
SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 | The Jewish Home
the issue as heavy polluters.” He added that the United States has an obligation to help like they assist those hurt by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma stateside. “My message is: just as Trump is helping other U.S. states, like Florida and Texas, just remember that there are some countries in the Caribbean that got damaged and the U.S. can do more,” he said. “They ought to do more. You cannot be the biggest and most powerful country in the world and have small islands right on your doorstep on the socalled third border.”
t. Martin/St. Maarten suffered extensive damage under Irma. Nearly onethird of its buildings in the Dutch-ruled section of St. Martin were destroyed. More than 90 percent of its structures were damaged in the storm. Cars were tossed on their sides, and large boats were stranded sideways on dry land after Irma left. St. Martin is an island that was divided in the 17 th century into the French territory of Saint-Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten. It has a population of around 40,000. This week, Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited his country’s part of the island and said the scenes of devastation he witnessed were the worst he’d ever seen. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before and I’ve seen a lot of natural disasters in my life,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of war zones in my life, but I’ve never seen anything like this.” On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Caribbe-
an. Speaking in Guadeloupe, Macron promised to rebuild the French territories flattened by Irma, namely St. Martin and St. Barts. “I am here to talk about reconstruction,” he said. “When such a thing happens, life is never the same again. I want to rebuild not just a new life but also a better life.” The French interior ministry said that after emergency needs are dealt with, reconstruction will begin. Among its priorities, it intends to distribute one million liters of drinking water, secure private property, and get the telecommunications systems running again. In a Facebook Live video on Wednesday after the storm ravaged her town in St. Martin, Stacy-Ann Taylor cried, “We survived, we survived.” She added that they were in need of basic necessities – food, water, security. She and her family were fearful of looters and lawlessness. Around the island, there were reports of men with knives and machetes threatening residents. Some were waiting on piers to steal the bounty of boats and ships carrying much-needed supplies to the devastated community. Residents, fearful for their lives, were hiding in their homes at night. On Front Street, a popular shopping destination for thousands of tourists, looters broke into a customs office and stole weapons. In addition to the devastation caused by Irma, the lawlessness is perhaps a more urgent concern right now. French and Dutch police have sent additional officers and military personnel to the island to contain the looters.
Currently 1,500 French troops, police and emergency workers are in St. Martin. An additional 500 others are to come. Just days after Irma left, Hurricane Jose came though the region. Although the islands weren’t hit directly, its presence nearby halted a lot of relief and rescue operations. On Sunday, American officials rescued at least 1,200 U.S. residents from St. Martin, bringing them to Puerto Rico for shelter.
Downed trees in Miami Beach
ritain received criticism from some in regards to its response – or lack of it – to Irma in its territories in the region, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands. But this week, Alan Duncan, secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, spoke in the UK Parliament and explained, “I am rather dismayed by the sweeping criticism ... they are unsupported by the facts. For instance, the French don’t deploy in advance specifically for hurricanes; what they do is have troops permanently based there because the nature of French overseas territories’ government is different from ours. Our overseas territories are self-governing. The French govern directly. And therefore they have soldiers there all the time,” Duncan said. The UK has had a naval vessel, Mounts Bay, preloaded with disaster relief supplies in the Caribbean since July, and within a couple of days had restored electricity at Anguilla’s hospital and cleared the airport runway before repositioning to the British Virgin Islands. Another Royal Navy ship, HMS Ocean, Britain’s largest,
Destruction on the British island of Anguilla
Dutch King Willem-Alexander in St. Maarten
Downed power lines in the U.S. Virgin Islands
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