Dutch King Willem-Alexander
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AMSTERDAM – Dutch King Willem-Alexander, is scheduled to fly to the island of Curacao on Sunday where he will inspect the coordination of relief efforts for the former colony of St Maarten following the passage of Hurricane Irma.
In a statement on Friday, the Royal House said the monarch, while in Curacao will assess “whether and when it is possible to visit St Maarten” and nearby Dutch territories of Saba and St Eustatius – islands that were not as severely damaged by the storm.
In Curacao, officials are helping to coordinate a military operation to deliver supplies to the 40 000-strong population of St Maarten – which shares an island with the French territory of St Martin.
St Maarten has been autonomous since 2010, but remains part of the Dutch commonwealth.
In the aftermath of the storm, Prime Minster Mark Rutte of St Maarten says military forces are helping to maintain order and distribute aid across the country.
On Friday, Rutte told reporters that after the runway of the airport was cleared, the first plane landed in the capital Philipsburg and supplies were unloaded.
Rutte and Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk say troops are helping stretched local authorities on the autonomous territory to uphold law and order amid looting of stores.
Earlier this week, as a powerful Category 5 Hurricane, Irma made its trek across the region and pummelled several Caribbean territories including Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, leaving a trail of death and destruction. (CMC)