On Tuesday King Willem-Alexander opened the Netherlands' parliamentary year with his traditional Budget Day speech. He talked about the devastation Hurricane Irma left of the Caribbean islands that form part of the Dutch Kingdom, terrorism around the world, the prosecution of those responsible for the MH17 disaster, and making sure that everyone in the Netherlands benefits from the improving economy, among other things.
Saba and Sint Eustatius are anxiously awaiting Hurricane Maria, which is set to pass close by the islands in the course of the morning or early in the afternoon. Hurricane Maria increased in strength and is now considered a category 5 hurricane, the strongest category, with wind speeds up to 260 kilometers per hour, BNR reports.
Hurricane Maria is heading towards the Caribbean, but is currently expected to miss the Kingdom of the Netherlands islands, according to Nicolien Kroon of Buienradar. The strong winds and heavy rains the hurricane brings with it can still cause many problems on the islands, especially for Sint Maarten, which was devastated by Hurricane Irma a week and a half a go, RTL Nieuws reports.
Rob Verkerk, Commander of the Dutch Armed Forces, and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs called critical statements by Sint Maarten Prime Minister William Marlin about Dutch soldiers on the island "complete nonsense". In an interview with NRC, Marlin said that Dutch soldiers did nothing to stop looting on the island after Hurricane Irma.
Sint Maarten's prime minister William Marlin is critical of Dutch soldiers' failure to maintain public order on the island in the direct aftermath of Hurricane Irma, he said in an interview with NRC. "There was looting, the marines watched and did nothing", Marlin said.
At 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations officially launched the national fundraising action for Sint Maarten, Saba and Eustatius, who were all hit by devastating Hurricane Irma last week. The action "The Netherlands helps Sint Maarten" is a collaboration between the Red Cross and Dutch broadcasters RTL, NPO and SBS.
The Red Cross' fundraiser to help the people of Sint Maarten after the devastating Hurricane Irma, Giro 5125, raised over 4.3 million euros so far. And the donations keep coming in, the Red Cross announced on Thursday, RTL Nieuws reports.
Sint Maarten can count on a financial contribution from the Netherlands to help it recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday evening, according to Metro Nieuws. He did not mention any amounts.
Sint Maarten hopes that the island can recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma within a year or two, deputy minister of the island Henrietta Doran-York said after a national council meeting in The Hague on Tuesday. She also praised the cooperation between the Netherlands and Sint Maarten in the run-up and aftermath of the hurricane, and refuted criticism about a lack of preparation for the hurricane, RTL Nieuws reports.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander is overwhelmed by the devastation Hurricane Irma left on Sint Maarten, one of the Caribbean islands that form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. "I've never seen anything like this, everywhere you look you see destruction and upheaval", the King said from the island on Tuesday, NU.nl reports.
King Willem-Alexander and Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations arrived on Sint Maarten on Monday afternoon, local time. They landed on a battered Princess Juliana International Airport, where they were immediately faced with the devastation Hurricane Irma left in its wake.
The first plane carrying evacuees from Sint Maarten is on its way back to the Netherlands. The air force KDC-10 plane is expected to land at Eindhoven air base at around 3:30 p.m., Omroep Brabant reports. The evacuees were previously only taken as far as Curacao.
King Willem-Alexander will visit Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba on Monday to see the aftermath of Hurricane Irma with his own eyes, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations said on Curacao on Sunday afternoon, ANP reports.
In addition to the material destruction Hurricane Irma left in its wake, the island of Sint Maarten is now also dealing with looters carrying off whatever they can get their hands on, according to various news sources.
An eye witness told BNR on Friday morning that armed looters are working in organized groups to take as much as they can. Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations confirmed the looting, according to Financieele Dagblad.
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.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands was hit hard by Hurricane Irma, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a press conference after a crisis meeting about emergency relief for the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius on Thursday morning, NU.nl reports. The government is very concerned about Hurricane Jose, which may hit the Dutch islands on Saturday.
At least 2,400 Dutch travelers are currently in the areas that will soon face the wrath of Hurricane Irma, according to travel agency TUI, NU.nl reports.
Around 1,600 Dutch are on Cuba and the Dominican Republic. They booked trips through TUI subsidiary Kras. The other 800 are in the American state of Florida.
TUI also has four travelers on Sint Maarten, where Hurricane Irma hit on Wednesday, leaving devastation in its wake. TUI managed to make contact with all four Dutch and they are doing well.
The Dutch Ministers involved in providing aid to the islands affected by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday, are meeting in the National Crisis Center in The Hague at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. The main purpose of this meeting is to map what aid exactly the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius need, Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs and Kingdom relations said to broadcaster NOS.
The Netherlands islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius were struck by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday. All three islands were hit hard, but Sint Maarten sustained the most damage. As more and more photos and footage surface from the islands, the extent of the damage is becoming clear.
The Red Cross started raising funds to support the victims of Hurricane Irma, which caused massive amounts of damage on the islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Estatius and Saba on Wednesday. Donations to Giro 5125 can be made from the Red Cross website.
Hurricane Irma took at least six lives on Saint-Martin, the French part of the island that also includes Sint Maarten, broadcaster Franceinfo reported on behalf of the French government. Thus far no information is available about victims in the Dutch part of the island, the Telegraaf reports.
Photos and videos posted on social media as they eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Sint Maarten show that the hurricane already did massive amounts of damage on the island. Despite the fact that the island is still on lockdown, and no one is allowed outside, the effects of the hurricane are becoming increasingly visible.