Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, spared by José but devastated by Irma, attack the colossal reconstruction site, part of the population not hiding their exasperation against the state while Emmanuel Macron is expected on Tuesday. .
Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, spared by José but devastated by Irma, tackle the colossal reconstruction site, part of the population not hiding their exasperation against the state while Emmanuel Macron is expected on Tuesday. . n ”The President of the Republic has decided to leave Monday to Tuesday night for Saint-Martin. He will spend the day on the island to be able to meet with the inhabitants and elected officials of the island, ”Interior Minister Gérard Collomb announced Sunday evening after a meeting at the Elysee Palace.
After the passage of Hurricane José further offshore than expected, the time has come for relief on the spot and the resumption of the airlift and the sea bridge to evacuate the most vulnerable in one direction and transport freight and food as a priority. in the other. Some 85 tons of food, a million liters of water and 2,200 kg of medicines were transported, according to the regional prefecture.
At Grand-Case airport, north of the French part of Saint-Martin, an incessant ballet of helicopters and planes has resumed, AFP noted. Tifanie, 31, leaves, alone and definitively, with a cabin suitcase for all the luggage: “Our husbands and brothers are staying to help, but I am leaving, I have lost everything”.
On their arrival in Guadeloupe, the survivors do not hide their relief. “We have nothing more to fear,” breathes Fred, 43 years old. “Where we feel the relief is when we take off from Saint-Martin because we tell ourselves that we are leaving this area of chaos and that we will no longer have to turn around to know if someone is going. wanting to steal my business, harm my family and my life. ”
The prefecture of Guadeloupe also announced Sunday evening the resumption of maritime links between Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint-Martin. A ship will dock on Monday “with a 5-ton crane, which will unload large-capacity containers”. In a landscape of ruins, the help, soldiers and police dispatched to the island are now 1,500 and will soon increase to 2,000.
“There is no more looting”
“Order has been restored. There are no longer today the scenes of looting ”post-Irma, assured Mr. Collomb. There have been 11 arrests so far, according to Place Beauvau. A traffic ban similar to a curfew remains in force in Saint-Martin between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. until Wednesday. “Food is assured and one of the two supermarkets on the island has opened”, according to the Interior Ministry, also announcing the installation “in the coming days of a field hospital in Marigot”.
EDF indicated that 140 tons of electrical equipment had arrived by plane in Guadeloupe before being transported by boat. Operators are working to restore telecommunications as quickly as possible, which is still cut while Radio France has launched an emergency radio station, available on the air (91.1 FM in Saint-Martin) and on the internet.
Mr. Collomb also announced a meeting on Monday around the Prime Minister with the ministers concerned to define “a plan on issues of health, housing, reconstruction”. Despite the relief of seeing the José threat recede, the tension remained palpable in Saint-Martin. “I am angry after Paris and its crisis management,” said Nicolas, an official for six years on the island.
A beginning of political controversy also appeared in Paris. Marine Le Pen (FN) denounced on Saturday a government having “anticipated nothing” and “completely insufficient” resources, Eric Ciotti (LR) blasted Sunday for “state failings”. Leader of France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, called for a parliamentary commission of inquiry on the upstream management of the disaster and “more international solidarity” in areas facing hurricanes.
In the face of criticism, the government defended itself. Its spokesperson Christophe Castaner, said “understand the anger”, but insisted on the means deployed by the State and the “first priority” given to relief.
“The State, from the start, has faced the situation, warned of the worst”, assured Mr. Collomb, for whom “the time is not for controversy”. “I will never let it be said that the services of the State, that the services of the local authority would not have been up to the task”, hammered the Minister of Overseas Annick Girardin.
A first cost of damage was assessed on Saturday at 1.2 billion euros by the Caisse central de réassurance. Irma has left at least ten dead and seven missing in the French islands, four in the Dutch part, according to the latest report. This brings the total number of people killed in the Caribbean to 27.
The hurricane claimed its first victims in Florida, where it struck Sunday, with three deaths in car crashes visibly due to strong winds and heavy rains. US President Donald Trump has declared a state of natural disaster and announced his upcoming visit.