Dutch king heads for Caribbean islands to support post-hurricane aid efforts

Dutch soldiers boarding a plane in Eindhoven on their way to Sint Maarten. Photo: Dolph Cantrijn/Hollandse Hoogte

King Willem-Alexander is flying to Curaçao on Sunday to lend support to the mission supplying aid to the hurricane-hit islands of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

The king will be based on Curaçao but will visit the affected islands if possible. He will be accompanied by home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk.

Prime minister Mark Rutte told reporters on Friday morning that a large number of Sint Maarten’s 40,000 residents have been deprived of basic necessities. ‘We are trying to get water, food and medicine to the island as soon as we can,’ Rutte said. ‘We have to be quick because the next hurricane, José, is on its way.’

Asked about reports of looting on the Caribbean island Rutte said that the situation is ‘serious’. The authorities are having great difficult carrying out their duties, the prime minister said.

Over 100 Dutch soldiers are already on the island and others are on their way to help the security effort.