Macron promises to rebuild island devastated by Irma

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Britain was forced to reinforce its marines on the British Virgin Islands after more than 100 "very serious" inmates escaped after a prison was breached in the storm, Alan Duncan, Britain's minister for Europe and the Americas, said on Tuesday.

Caretaker Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte had said on Sunday an estimated 70 percent of buildings were damaged or destroyed.

A medical center was being set up Tuesday in the stadium of Marigot, a port on St. Martin, and a French military ship will provide additional medical facilities in coming days, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

Irma walloped Cuba's northern coast on Saturday as a Category 5 storm and was expected to hit Florida on Sunday morning, threatening massive damage from wind and flooding to the fourth-largest US state by population.

A woman amidst the crowd waiting to be lifted to France said, "We've been here since six in the morning and we're still waiting, under a blazing sun", while another woman asked: "Why are you here?" "You try to stay strong in public, but once inside, you break".

Macron was eventually heading to the French-Dutch island of St. Martin, where 10 people were killed on the French side and four on the Dutch, to meet with residents.

The Caribbean islands of St Martin, St Barts, St Thomas, Barbuda and Anguilla were all struck by the hurricane before it moved on to pummel Cuba and later made landfall in Florida.

Mr Macron is pictured visiting St Martin on Tuesday after Hurricane Irma's destruction.

The National Hurricane Center says a hurricane hunter airplane found Irma's winds dropped from 125 miles per hour to 120 miles per hour, but that's likely to soon increase again now that the center of the storm is over bathtub-warm water.

"There's no food here".

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Officials said they would begin distributing food rations and water after Hurricane Jose had passed.

As night fell on Monday, residents hurried inside, fearful of robbers roaming the streets and of the handful of men walking around yanking chains tied to aggressive dogs.

"We can't sleep in peace because of the thieves", said Yovanny Roque, a 48-year-old mover.

Dutch Major-General Richard Oppelaar said 200 tonnes of aid had been delivered, while 750 people have been evacuated from Sint Maarten. That would bring the total number of security personnel to 550. The tiny dog was later rescued by a local resident who took pity on him.

Across the island, cars lie tossed upside down, at 90-degree angles and on top of other cars. Large boats leaned sideways on dry land.

Dutch King Willem-Alexander arrived on St. Martin on Monday and said the scenes of devastation are the worst he has ever seen.

In images broadcast by Dutch national network NOS, Willem-Alexander said: "I've never experienced anything like this before and I've seen a lot of natural disasters in my life".

Willem-Alexander said he was encouraged to see residents already working together to rebuild the shattered capital of Philipsburg.

This photo provided by the Dutch Defense Ministry shows storm damage in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, on the Dutch side of St. Martin.

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