Published On: Thu, Sep 7th, 2017

Update: Dutch military ready to assist in St. Maarten

THE HAGUE - The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that Category 5 Hurricane Irma was a storm of "epic proportions" when it slammed into the former Dutch colony of Sint Maarten in the Caribbean and is appealing to Dutch citizens to donate to a relief fund set up by the Red Cross.

Speaking Thursday after a meeting of the government's crisis committee, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said there are no reports yet of casualties on the Dutch side of the island. Rutte says the damage is huge, particularly on Saint Maarten, with "widescale destruction of infrastructure, houses and businesses."

He says, "There is no power, no gasoline, and no running water. Houses are under water, cars are floating through the streets, and inhabitants are sitting in the dark, in ruined houses and are cut off from the outside world."

The Dutch military is readying two aircraft to fly to the region to distribute vital aid to the shattered territory, which is home to some 40,000 people. However the airport on the Dutch side of the island is badly damaged.

The military will first come to Curaçao to prepare to distribute this needed aid to the island of St. Maarten.

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