Monday 30 March, 2020

WATCH: Widespread looting reported in Sint Maarten

Members of the Dutch armed forces have been deployed to help restore order in Sint Maarten after reports of looting in the island's capital of Philipsburg. 

Video footage showed several islanders raiding stores and carting away televisions and other appliances. 

Sint Maarten's Daily Herald reported that people converged on supermarkets, food warehouses, liquor depots, furniture stores and electronic equipment stores to loot as much as they could. 

 

"Many of the looters proved they were not looking for essentials. They headed to jewellery stores on Front Street, to the Harley Davidson Store to cart off bikes and the iStore to grab mobile phones even though internet is scarce. They hauled away televisions and other electronics," the site reported. 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Hurricane Irma left "widespread destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses. There's no power, no gas, no running water. Houses are underwater, cars float through the streets. Residents are in the dark, in ruined houses and are locked out of the outside world".

The runway at Sint Maarten’s destroyed Princess Juliana International Airport has since been cleared to allow for planes to land, however time is of the essence as the island continues to watch out for Hurricane Jose.

"The reports we are getting into are becoming increasingly clear. The destruction of Saint Martin is enormous, and that is also true of the upheaval. A large part of the inhabitants is devoid of basic necessities. They need all the help we can offer right now."

"We are now trying to get as much food, water and medicine as possible in the shortest possible time. But also tents, awnings, hygiene kits, building materials to restore vital infrastructure. We're in a hurry because the next hurricane is coming."

"I repeat what I said yesterday. We don't abandon Sint Maarten. We do everything in our power to help people there. We are working closely with France and other partners in the region. And of course we also take care of the Dutch who are in the affected region," Rutte said on Friday.

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