Hur­ri­cane Irma: mil­lions with­out power as clean-up starts in Caribbean, Florida


The Daily News Egypt - - International -

DW—In the US, five mil­lion homes, or­ga­ni­za­tions, and busi­nesses in Florida re­mained with­out power as night fell on Tues­day.

The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency said that based on ini­tial es­ti­mates,on the Florida Keys chain of is­lands at the south­ern tip of the state, 25 per­cent of houses had been de­stroyed and a fur­ther 65 per­cent had suf­fered ma­jor da­m­age. Ev­ery home has been im­pacted in some way by the storm.

Au­thor­i­ties have pre­vented peo­ple re­turn­ing to their homes in the Keys to al­low more time to re­store ser­vices. Some 10,000 res­i­dents stayed in their homes when the storm hit and of­fi­cials said they may need to be evac­u­ated.

Util­ity com­pa­nies are fo­cus­ing on restor­ing ser­vices to schools, hos­pi­tals and other in­fra­struc­ture. There are hopes that power will be re­stored on the eastern side of Florida by the week­end.

The UK par­lia­ment was told Tues­day that a prison breach posed a threat to the hur­ri­cane-hit Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands af­ter a hun­dred in­mates es­caped.

“We had a se­ri­ous threat of the com­plete break­down of law and or­der in the Bri­tishVir­gin Is­lands (BVI),” For­eign Of­fice Min­is­ter Alan Dun­can told par­lia­ment. He did not dis­close how many pris­on­ers were still at large. A night-time cur­few has been im­posed.

Bri­tish marines were de­ployed on Fri­day, with re­in­force­ments over the week­end mak­ing a to­tal of about 1,000 Bri­tish troops in the re­gion.

“We have main­tained and kept law and or­der on the BVI, which at one point, could have dra­mat­i­cally threat­ened the al­ready un­for­tu­nate plight of those who had been hit by the hur­ri­cane,” Dun­can added.

The death toll in the Bri­tish ter­ri­to­ries had climbed to nine, Dun­can said, com­pris­ing five in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands and four in An­guilla.

Irma is be­lieved to have killed 43 peo­ple in the Car­ribbean and at least 13 in Florida, Ge­or­gia, and South Carolina.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists are now mon­i­tor­ing Hur­ri­cane Jose, which is still in the At­lantic, some 700 miles (1,130 km) west of Florida.

Many of the Caribbean is­lands hard­est hit by Irma are over­seas ter­ri­to­ries of France,Bri­tain,and the Nether­lands. The US Vir­gin Is­lands were also badly af­fected. As the coun­tries sent troops to de­liver aid and pro­vide se­cu­rity, some lo­cals and tourists who were left short of food and shel­ter said help was slow to ar­rive and raised con­cerns about loot­ing and law­less­ness.

“Even from the plane I saw some­thing I have never seen be­fore,” Dutch King Willem-Alexan­der told pub­lic news­caster NOS.“I have seen proper war as well as nat­u­ral dis­as­ters be­fore, but I’ve never seen any­thing like this.”

Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron vis­ited their coun­tries’ re­spec­tive disas­ter-hit ter­ri­to­ries on Tues­day. John­son re­futed claims made by lo­cals and tourists on the Bri­tish ter­ri­to­ries that the UK had done less to evac­u­ate its cit­i­zens than other na­tions, say­ing the govern­ment was re­spond­ing to an “un­prece­dented catas­tro­phe.”

On the joint-French-Dutch is­land of St. Martin, Macron was also met by a num­ber of an­gry,jeer­ing lo­cals,amid re­ports of vi­o­lence and law­less­ness on the is­land.Res­i­dents re­ported that lo­cal gangs armed with ma­chetes had ar­rived on the French side of the is­land to take ad­van­tage of the dev­as­ta­tion,lead­ing to short­ages in the sup­ply of food and wa­ter.

The French pres­i­dent vowed to cut through red tape to quickly re­build the French Caribbean is­lands, deny­ing that au­thor­i­ties were too slow to re­act. He said €50 mil­lion ($59 mil­lion) would be made avail­able as soon as pos­si­ble.

“St. Martin will be re­born, I prom­ise,” Macron said. “I will shake up all the rules and pro­ce­dures so the job is done as quickly as pos­si­ble.It will be done quickly, it will be done well, and it will be done bet­ter.”

As some lo­cals feared law­less­ness, Bri­tish, French, and Dutch diplomats headed to the Caribbean to rebuff crit­i­cism

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