Dutch King, French President, British Foreign Secretary all head to the Caribbean

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 07:00

A number of foreign dignitaries are set to visit the Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander visited Sint Maarten on Monday and is scheduled to fly to two other smaller Dutch islands on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also due to arrive on Saint Martin on Tuesday and the presidential plane will carry essential goods and materials.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Monday that local authorities will draw up evacuation lists for residents who want to to leave Saint Martin.

Priority in evacuation to Guadeloupe or mainland France will be given to vulnerable people whose homes are uninhabitable, including the elderly and families with young children.

With Saint Martin's hospitals hard hit by Irma, Philippe said a tent clinic would be opened on the island.

A warship being despatched from mainland France would also offer residents its medical facilities on board.

Meanwhile, and facing mounting criticism of his government's rescue and relief efforts, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is scheduled to visit the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

There are 700 troops and more than 50 police on the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and Turks and Caicos, Johnson said after an emergency COBRA meeting on Monday.

More than 40 tonnes of aid has arrived in the region, including 2,608 shelter kits which can provide cover for more than 13,000 people, the UK's Foreign Office said.