Published: Sun, September 10, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Famous airport heavily damaged by Irma

Famous airport heavily damaged by Irma

The storm tore through the popular holiday island, which is divided between France and the Netherlands, leaving at least five people dead and major shortages of water, petrol and food.

Officials released a photo taken from a helicopter of the airport after Hurricane Irma slammed through the region with winds topping 175 miles per hour.

Two days after hurricane Irma swept over the eastern part of region, devastating thousands of homes, some islands braced for a second battering from hurricane Jose this weekend. One government official said 95% of the island has been destroyed by Irma.

Britain also said the hurricane had caused "great devastation" in the British Virgin Islands, with foreign minister Boris Johnson saying London had sent teams there to distribute aid.

The normally idyllic Caribbean beach is on the Dutch side of St Martin, known as St Maarten.

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The island's Juliana Airport, famous for the images of tourists lying on Mayo Beach with planes landing just yards behind them, is damaged. Following crisis talks with his Cabinet, Rutte confirmed "there is no power" and the island's "infrastructure is badly damaged". Parts of the building can be seen strewn on the runway.

Dutch ships will try to moor on Sint Maarten to deliver emergency aid on Thursday.

However the beach has been rendered unrecognisable by the Category 5 storm that lashed the island with winds of up to 300km/h.

Irma is thought to be heading towards Florida where towns are being evacuated and people are preparing for the worst.

Dutch Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said he briefly had contact with Saint Martin's prime minister but communications are sporadic.

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