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UK Foreign Secretary to visit Irma-battered Caribbean islands

14 September 2017

A clean-up operation is underway but around 60% of homes in the state are still without power.

French President Emmanuel Macron, gauging the damage to the formerly idyllic islands of St. Martin and St. Barts, said rebuilding efforts would focus on modern residential structures created to withstand big storms.

On Sunday British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a £32 million ($42 million) relief fund to support the humanitarian effort.

UK Foreign Secretary to visit Irma-battered Caribbean islands

Rules that stop British aid cash being used to help victims of Hurricane Irma are being reviewed amid claims that five times more could have been sent to support overseas territories hit by the natural disaster.

"We have absolutely nothing, we lost it all, the fridge, the washing machine, we lost it all here", said Ayda Herrera, whose home on Havana's seafront boulevard was flooded. Charleston, S.C. saw a almost 10-foot storm surge, and for the first time since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, historic homes along the city's battery and famous Rainbow Row took on water.

Meanwhile in the U.S. police have taken to shaming looters they captured, taking a picture of them as they sit in a cell.

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The electricity supply has also been badly hit, authorities said.

Willem-Alexander was to fly to the nearby Dutch islands of Saba and St. Eustatius, which also were hit by Irma, but suffered less damage than St. Martin.

Macron said 11 people were killed in St. Martin, while another four people died on the Dutch side of the island, bringing the death toll in the Caribbean to at least 35.

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Despite sending troops and ships to deliver help, France, Britain and the Netherlands have been criticized for an insufficient response in islands that are their territories.

"In my home at night, we are locked in like a bunker", said Conn Davis, a British Virgin Islands resident, told NBC News.

Although Georgia and SC avoided the worst of Irma's destructive path, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency after 340,000 were left without electricity and four people died. Constitutionally, the security of British overseas territories is the responsibility of the United Kingdom government. In the images of Virgin Gorda, the ocean after Irma looks bright blue in comparison with the ocean color before the storm; NASA said that could be because "rougher surfaces scatter more light, and appear brighter and lighter". "I never want to go through something like this again". "I am here to talk about reconstruction", he said.

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UK Foreign Secretary to visit Irma-battered Caribbean islands