Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

British FM Johnson flying to Caribbean after criticism of Irma aid

British FM Johnson flying to Caribbean after criticism of Irma aid

Irma passed the north east Caribbean Islands on September 6 with maximum sustained winds of 185mph (295kph).

Cuban first responders used inflatable rafts to navigate flooded streets as panicked families sent up social-media pleas in search of loved ones on hard-hit islands further east.

Almost seven million people had been told to leave their homes in mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders.

At least 24 people died in other parts of the Caribbean as the hurricane blew through.

It added that Hurricane Irma is "one of the biggest natural catastrophes to have occurred in France in 35 years".

Around 100 "very serious" prisoners have escaped from jail on the British Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Irma, a minister has said.

Stunning satellite images from NASA Earth Observatory show how powerful Hurricane Irma hit the islands when the Category 5 hurricane passed through the US and British Virgin Islands with 185 miles per hour winds.

Local hydro crews heading to Florida to help restore power after Irma
The utility has marshaled 19,500 workers who are spanning the state to assess damage and begin the process of restoring power. Up to 20,000 Gulf Power customers could lose power from the storm.

The hurricane passed over the British territories of Anguilla, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday night, and the United Kingdom islands of Turks and Caicos on Thursday evening. The French have already deployed more than 1000 personnel to the Caribbean region in an aid-and-relief effort.

"The UK is going to be with you for the long term", Johnson had told residents in a video message. Damage was limited in Puerto Rico, although much of the population of 3.4 million lost electrical power and at least 56,000 were without water.

The overall death toll has risen from Irma's powerful rampage through the Caribbean to 38. Others said they felt abandoned by hotel staff and that looters had taken purses from guests.

"St. Martin will be reborn, I promise", he said.

The evacuation of U.S. citizens from the Dutch side - St Maarten - resumed today, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, after being suspended in anticipation of Hurricane Jose, which later veered off to the north. Priority is being given to those needing urgent medical care, she said.

The British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean are highly dependent on aid, making them what The Times called "an expensive legacy of empire".

To the east, in the Leeward Islands known as the playground for the rich and famous, governments came under criticism for failing to respond quickly to the hurricane, which flattened many towns and turned lush, green hills to a brown stubble.

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