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More aid for islands battered by Irma

13 September 2017

Turnbull said she heard word that people were taking shelter in their cisterns.

The governor of the central Camaguey province, Isabel Gonzalez, speaking on national television, reported "major damage", without giving further details.

The Communist Party newspaper Granma reported that the Jardines del Rey airport serving the northern cays was destroyed and posted photos to Twitter showing the shattered terminal hall littered with debris.

Dazed citizens like Yanmara Suarez surveyed the devastation in the historic old town of Havana, largely submerged by a wind-whipped tidal surge that left many people wading in waist-high water over the weekend. Heads of State and Government, political organizations, and friends of the solidarity movements have expressed their willingness to help us, which we thank on behalf of the more than eleven million of Cubans. Landfall by Irma's "eye" is projected for tomorrow afternoon on the Florida panhandle.

The island is shared between a French territory and the former Dutch colony of St. Maarten, a largely autonomous part of the Dutch kingdom with a population of around 40,000.

Irma expected to weaken to tropical depression by Tuesday afternoon
At least two dozen people died in the storm there and reports suggested almost all buildings on some islands had been destroyed . He noted that FEMA was continuing to rescue people stranded by flooding around Jacksonville , in the state's northeast.

Havana residents woke up Monday to a city still without power and some neighborhoods still under water.

Despite the slight weakening on Saturday because it was hugging the northern coast of Cuba, Beasley said it is sill a risky storm and could gather more strength, from the current Category 3 to a 4.

Irma badly damaged the Florida Keys and surrounding areas, while several more deaths were reported after it hit the USA coastline.

"I think the atmosphere now is relief, knowing it is past and the building is still there and everyone is OK", said the British woman, wearing a colorful pareo over her swimsuit.

This follows reports of severe food and water shortages as well as the absence of power and phone services on the island of St. Martin.

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Authorities announced the reopening of St. Martin's Marigot port and said a boat was expected to dock by Monday with a 5-ton crane capable of unloading large containers of aid.

Irma's estimated to have caused at least $10 billion in damage across all the islands.

While Britain's government drew fi erce criticism for its inadequate preparation for Irma's assaults on British possessions and former colonies, Cuba despatched 750 medical personnel to Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, Bahamas, Dominica and Haiti, confirming the socialist island's internationalist credentials. He said he will match those donations, up to $1 million.

- U.S. Transportation Command continues its support to St. Martin for evacuation and humanitarian assistance, and the strategic lift of commodities to the Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico area.

Some of the victims had ignored instructions to evacuate, it said.

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"There are reportedly two ships headed to St. Thomas with space for 4,000 passengers to rescue vacationers", he said. Michael Weissenstein is Caribbean bureau chief for The Associated Press, and he's with us on the line now from Havana.

More aid for islands battered by Irma