Cuba surveys toppled houses, flooded cities in wake of Irma

French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron

The Dutch Red Cross said there were still more than 200 people listed as missing on St. Maarten, but with communications still extremely spotty a week after the storm hit it wasn't immediately clear how many were simply without cell service and unable to let friends and family know they had survived.

Complicating the situation is a noon-to-6 p.m. curfew that usually gives people just enough time to get only one essential item, said Gladys Collins.

As Irma left Cuba late Saturday and directed its 120 miles per hour (195 kph) winds toward Florida, authorities on the island were assessing the damage and warning of staggering damage to keys off the northern coast studded with all-inclusive resorts and cities, as well as farmland in central Cuba.

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. A French military ship was scheduled to arrive Tuesday with materials to build temporary housing.

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

"Even from the plane I saw something I have never seen before", the Dutch royal told the NOS public newscaster.

"I've never experienced anything like this before and I've seen a lot of natural disasters in my life".

Still, he said he was encouraged to see residents already working together to rebuild the shattered capital, Philipsburg.

"It's been very useful to see for myself what bad damage this storm has done and in this way to also show the population of St. Martin and the governor and prime minister that we stand together here as a kingdom and that we will solve this together", he told reporters.

Under pressure to be more responsive, foreign minister Boris Johnson is expected to travel to the region on Tuesday for a visit to the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.

Despite Havana being far from where Irma first hit, the city has suffered severe flooding and widespread wind damage.

Posts to the BVI Abroad - Hurricane Irma Facebook group expressed anger and frustration at the perceived slow response by the British government, which has pledged $42 million and 20 tons of aid to the Caribbean in the form of shelter kits, solar lanterns and other humanitarian relief supplies, but whose efforts have appeared to lack coordination.

"Everybody should benefit from that money", he told reporters after a Cabinet meeting called to discuss the fallout from Irma.

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