More aid, evacuations in Caribbean islands battered by Irma
HAVANA -- With ports mended and weather cleared, officials sent in more aid and arranged stepped-up evacuations Monday in remote Caribbean islands devastated and cut off by Hurricane Irma.
Many in the chain of Leeward Islands known as the playground for the rich and famous have criticized governments for failing to respond quickly to the disaster caused by the Category 5 hurricane.
The storm stripped the islands’ formerly lush green hills to a brown stubble and flattened buildings, then swamped much of Cuba’s coastline, including Havana’s iconic Malecon seawall.
At least 24 people died in Anguilla, Barbuda, the French-Dutch island of St. Martin, St. Barts, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Among them was a 2-yearold boy swept away when his home filled with water.
Residents have reported shortages of food, water and medicine, and many have complained of looting.
The U.S. government said it was sending a flight Monday to evacuate its citizens from one of the hardest hit islands, St. Martin. Evacuees were warned to expect long lines and no running water at the airport.
A Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship was expected to dock near St. Martin to help in the aftermath, and a boat was bringing a 5-ton crane capable of unloading large shipping containers filled with aid. A French military ship was scheduled to arrive Tuesday with materials to build temporary housing.
Some 70 percent of the beds at the main hospital in the French portion of St. Martin were severely damaged, and more than 100 people in need of urgent medical care have been evacuated. Eight of the territory’s 11 pharmacies were destroyed, and Guadeloupe was sending medication. (AP)
Residents walk on Havana's flooded sea wall as the ocean crashes into it, after the passing of Hurricane Irma in Havana, Cuba, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. The powerful storm ripped roofs off houses, collapsed buildings and flooded hundreds of miles of coastline after cutting a trail of destruction across the Caribbean.