At least one person was killed and “several were injured” after Hurricane Irma raged over Dutch Sint Maarten in the Caribbean, Internal Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk said today.
“We confirm that one person has died and several others have been injured, but the picture is incomplete,” Plasterk told journalists in The Hague.
Communication with the hard-hit island remained difficult Plasterk added, as the Dutch aid effort gathered steam today evening.
Two Royal Dutch air force planes, a KDC-10 passenger jet and a C-130 Hercules transporter have taken off from the Eindhoven air force base and were on the way to the island of Curacao in the southern Caribbean, Dutch media reported.
It is planned for the Hercules transport which can land on rudimentary airstrips to shuttle aid between Curacao and the stricken St Maarten, the ANP news agency reported.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte earlier said the island remained unreachable, but officials hope that the runway at the Princess Juliana International Airport would be open for relief flights to land soon.
Two Royal Dutch Marine ships were also in the area.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said earlier four people were confirmed dead on the French St Martin part of the island.