Despite sending reinforcements and ships to deliver help, France, Britain and the Netherlands have been criticized for not doing enough for the islands that they oversee.
After reviewing the aid operation underway at a British base in Barbados, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended his government’s response to one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the Caribbean.
“We have every sympathy for the suffering of the people. I think most fair-minded people, you’ve not got a thousand troops in the area. I think more than 50 police officers, more police officers coming in tonight, huge quantities of supplies coming in,” said Johnson.
The UK government pledged long-term support on Tuesday to the British territories in the Caribbean hit by Hurricane Irma.
“We’ve seen deployments of UK armed services. They are contributing massively to people’s sense of confidence. It’s all about rebuilding that sense that these beautiful islands have a future, it will take time to rebuild, but the UK is going to be in the lead in that recovery plan,” said the secretary.
Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce additional funds for hurricane relief.
Britain on Monday delivered its first humanitarian aid and disaster relief to the Turks and Caicos islands, its overseas territory in the Caribbean.
British Royal Air Force said it has flown more than 20 sorties within the Caribbean since Friday, moving more than 700 passengers into and around the region and delivering more than 70 tons of freight to hurricane-stricken communities. — Reuters
USAID and Colombian firefighters join rescue efforts in quake-stricken Mexico
Members of a Colombian crew loading a plane with equipment and aid for Mexico (from Reuters video)
Rescue workers working against the odds in Mexico City on Thursday received reinforcements from USAID amidst a rising death toll and dwindling hope of finding people alive more than 48 hours after a deadly quake.
Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto reported that there could still be people alive in 10 collapsed buildings in Mexico City.
Concentrating efforts on these areas, 67 U.S. search and rescue experts and five dogs will work alongside local rescue crews.
Colombia is also sending 31 individuals and tons of technical equipment that will be dispersed in quake-stricken areas in Mexico City, Puebla and Morelos.
“For all the women firefighters from Bogota and in the name of the unity, this group is ready to move forward and to do good work. We’ve been training for a long time. It’s been almost ten years that we’ve been getting ready for these kinds of emergencies,” said Cabo Yadira Piamonte, a Colombian firefighter.
This was Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in 32 years, with the death toll currently standing at 233. Parts of Mexico City, home to some 20 million people, are built on an ancient lake bed that trembles easily in a quake. — Reuters
Criminal probe opens into eight deaths at Florida nursing home after Irma
Police tape surrounds the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, Florida U.S., September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Eight elderly patients died on Wednesday after being left inside a stifling South Florida nursing home that lost power during Hurricane Irma.
The incident prompted a criminal investigation as it added a tragic new dimension to mounting loss of life from the storm.
“This is very tragic. It’s very sad. Many of us have loved ones and assisted living facilities and we expect that care to be there for those people. And so that’s why, right from the onset, we took the initial step, we immediately started a criminal investigation into this matter and made sure that everyone was evacuated and we took control of the entire building immediately thereafter,” said Florida Police chief Tomas Sanchez.
Officials continued to assess the damage inflicted by Irma with the overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday.
More than half of the number was recorded in the Caribbean.
The power losses from the storm had fatal consequences at the rehabilitation center at Hollywood Hills, a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, north of Miami.
Three elderly residents were found dead on Wednesday inside the sweltering facility, which had been left without air conditioning, officials said.
Five more patients from the nursing home later died at a nearby hospital, they said. — Reuters
U.S. sailors, marines working to bring aid to Irma-affected islands
The U.S. Navy and Marines are working to bring much-needed supplies and emergency assistance to islands affected by Hurricane Irma.
Sea Hawk helicopters took off from the USS Abraham Lincoln on Monday, working to bring aid to hard-hit areas in southern Florida and the Florida Keys.
Another navy ship, the USS Kearsarge worked with local governments in the U.S. Virgin Islands, delivering food, water and airlifting patients.
Across the whole of the Caribbean, Irma killed nearly 40 people and devastated basic services. — Reuters