Hurricane Irma Destroys Famous St. Martin's Airport

Violet Powell
September 10, 2017

Aerial images show the damage of Hurricane Irma on the Princess Juliana International Airport and Simpson Bay Beach, on the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Maarten.

Two days after hurricane Irma swept over the eastern part of region, devastating thousands of homes, some islands braced for a second battering from hurricane Jose this weekend.

Irma is thought to be heading towards Florida where towns are being evacuated and people are preparing for the worst.

But rescue efforts were made more hard due to the damage to police and fire service vehicles.

Another four people were killed on the US Virgin Islands, with the governor's office saying a number of badly injured people had been airlifted to Puerto Rico.

St. Martin has a population of 78,000, with about 41,000 living on the southern, Dutch side of the island.

Phoenix firefighters sent to Georgia to help with Hurricane Irma aftermath
It then appears increasingly likely to rip into heavily populated South Florida early Sunday. It will take NETF-1 about two days to get to Elgin Air Force Base, in western Florida.

"The situation is serious", Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said when asked about looting, adding authorities were being hampered in their efforts to deal with it as communications were cut off when Hurricane Irma roared through on Wednesday.

Many people are wandering around aimlessly, as they have no homes anymore and do not know what to do, Paul de Windt, editor of St. Maarten's The Daily Herald, said in a telephone interview with Curacao's Paradise FM radio station.

Officials released a photo taken from a helicopter of the airport after Hurricane Irma slammed through the region with winds topping 175 miles per hour.

It was "hit hard, with what appeared to be sand washed up on parts of the main terminal and the building's roof is extensively damaged".

The Dutch Royal Navy tweeted that the airport was "unreachable at the moment", but that getting it back up and running is a "high priority for the delivery of help and supplies".

The two Dutch Navy ships were expected to deliver aid to the island Thursday.

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