Dominican Republic quiet as Hurricane Irma approaches: Dutch woman
The situation in the part of the Dominican Republic that will soon be hit by Hurricane Irma, was still calm on Thursday morning, Odile Horjus from Doetinchem said to the Gelderlander. "It's very quiet. It's only raining steadily", the Dutch woman, who lives in Sousa on the north coast of the Caribbean sate, said around 9:00 a.m. Dutch time, 3:00 a.m. Dominican time.
Hurricane Irma is one of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit the Caribbean. It caused massive amounts of material damage when it hit the Dutch islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba on Wednesday. At this stage it seems that there were no fatalities on Sint Eustatius and Saba. Whether anyone was killed on the Dutch part of Sint Maarten is not yet clear. A total of 11 people were killed on Caribbean islands hit by the hurricane, according to NU.nl's live blog on the situation.
Two Dutch navy ships are on their way to Sint Maarten with supplies. The island's harbor and airport are currently inaccessible, but the navy ships are equipped with a helicopter, rubber boats and other means to get their supplies onto the island, the Royal Navy said on Twitter.
The Dutch government is currently focused on getting clean drinking water and food to the 40 thousand residents of Sint Maarten, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations said in a press conference on Thursday morning. It is essential to get these supplies to Sint Maarten, as it may face another hurricane - Hurricane Jose - on Saturday.
On it's current course, Hurricane Irma will pass over the sea just north of the Dominican republic and Jamaica, before heading to the Bahamas and the American state of Florida, according to the Gelderlander.
Travel agency TUI has some 2,400 thousand Dutch travelers currently in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Florida.