World

Prisoners escape in Hurricane Irma-hit British islands, hunt is on

13 Sep 2017 | By Abheet Sethi
European countries criticized over Hurricane Irma response

Several prisoners remain on the run after over 100 of them escaped while Hurricane Irma pummelled the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the Caribbean.

There was a "serious threat of the complete breakdown of law and order," said the UK Foreign Office.

The UK is deploying additional troops and police to the territory amid criticism over Britain's response to the devastating hurricane.

In context: European countries criticized over Hurricane Irma response

13 Sep 2017Prisoners escape in Hurricane Irma-hit British islands, hunt is on

DevastationCategory five Hurricane Irma devastated the Caribbean

Irma struck the Caribbean as a category five hurricane, the highest possible level for a hurricane, and had wind speeds of 280km/h.

It flattened and inundated islands, killing at least 23 people overall in the French islands of St. Barts and St. Martin, British territory of BVI and Anguilla, and Dutch Sint Maarten.

The responses of all three countries to Irma was criticized.

British responseBritain steps up response following criticism

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrived at the BVI, saying his visit represented a "very important statement" to show that the government is "here for UK nationals."

Over 500,000 British nationals were affected by Hurricane Irma.

The Foreign office said restoring law and order in the BVI is a top priority.

Hundreds of troops have been deployed for distributing aid and for reconstruction efforts.

French responseFrench president visits territories, vows to rebuild islands

French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting St. Barts and St. Martin to take stock of the situation.

He said his government has responded with "one of the biggest airlifts since World War Two."

He vowed to "shake up all the rules and procedures" to rebuild the islands.

Macron's government was criticized for not doing enough to help those affected and to prevent looting.

DamageIrma's trail of destruction

Barbuda, Antigua, Turks and Caicos Islands: Widespread damage to property and infrastructure.

St. Martin and St Barthelemy: Nine reported dead and seven missing in the French territories; two dead in the Dutch territory, Sint Maarten.

Barbuda and Anguilla: One person reported dead in each island.

Puerto Rico: Electricity infrastructure hit, one person dead.

Cuba: "Significant damage" reported; 10 people killed.