Published On: Fri, Sep 8th, 2017

King Willem Alexander flies to Curaçao to inspect coordination relief efforts

military1WILLEMSTAD - King Willem Alexander will fly to Curaçao on Sunday to inspect the coordination of relief efforts for devastated St. Maarten in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which hit as a Category 5 storm.

The Royal House announced the visit Friday, saying the monarch will assess in Curaçao "whether and when it is possible to visit St. Maarten" and nearby Dutch islands Saba and St. Eustatius, which were less severely damaged by Irma's winds.

A headquarters in Curaçao is helping coordinate a military operation to deliver supplies to the 40,000-strong population of St. Maarten. The tiny country, which shares an island with the French territory of St. Martin, has been autonomous since 2010, but remains part of the Dutch Kingdom.

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that most people are surviving on the island without the basic necessities of life. Power, running water and most communications were knocked out by the powerful storm and looting has been reported by local authorities struggling to keep control of the island.

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