Friday 24th November, 2017
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5 ℃ | 13 ℃Paris
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Emergency workers and National Guard troops are working to find those left stranded in the Florida Keys by Hurricane Irma, while France and Britain pledge to boost their response to those hit by the storms in their territories in the Caribbean.

French President Emmanuel Macron is visiting Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy on Wednesday, a day after arriving in Guadeloupe where he acknowledged the angry response some people have to what they see as inadequate help from France.Macron promised more supplies and security forces for the islands.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is touring Wednesday in Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, two places that took hard hits from Irma last week when it was a powerful Category 5 storm.He also said more security forces and 'huge quantities of supplies' were coming, and that he expects Prime Minister Theresa May to announce further aid on Wednesday.

The United Nations is airlifting food and other vital relief to the islands of Antigua, St. Martin, and the Turks and Caicos.

View of the partially buildings destroyed by Irma during the visit of France';s President Emmanuel Macron in the French Caribbean islands of St. Martin, Sept. 12, 2017.

Death toll

The hurricane killed at least 37 people in the Caribbean and devastated the islands, including Barbuda, which has evacuated all of its citizens to Antigua.

A further 12 deaths have been linked to Irma in the U.S. state of Florida, and a total of six others in Georgia and South Carolina.

The Florida Keys were the hardest-hit area on the U.S. mainland.In addition to rescue operations there, National Guard troops are also working to clear roads and runways in order to allow deliveries of life-saving supplies to the island chain where authorities have only allowed people to access the northernmost areas.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said that according to preliminary estimates, 25 percent of homes were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage.

'Basically, every house in the Keys was impacted in some way or another,' Long said.

Damaged sail boats are shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Sept. 11, 2017, in the Florida Keys.

Amid disarray, signs of restoration

Thousands of people remained in shelters across Florida, while about 40 percent of households were without power by late Tuesday.Authorities have said it will take weeks before electricity is restored to everyone.

But there are signs of life returning to normal, with airports resuming flights, curfews in many areas being lifted and major theme parks in Florida reopening.

Governor Rick Scott's office said key ports resumed operations Tuesday with a priority on bringing in fuel tanker ships, and that highway patrol officers were ready to escort delivery trucks to the many gas stations that have seen shortages since before the storm hit.All of Florida's interstate highways are also open.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter Tuesday that 'amazing people' were working hard to ease the havoc. He is planning to visit Florida on Thursday.

Hurricane relief telethon

Meanwhile, some of the biggest stars in show business took part in a benefit concert Tuesday night to raise money for the victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.

Stevie Wonder opened the show while such superstars as Cher, Barbara Streisand, Tom Hanks and Robert DeNiro answered telephones from viewers to accept donations.

About 10 U.S. television networks broadcast the one-hour telethon.

It is going to cost tens of billions of dollars to replace homes and repair infrastructures destroyed by the two storms. Harvey slammed into the southeastern state of Texas last month as a Category 4 storm while Irma struck the Florida Keys Sunday and moved up the west coast, causing floods and destruction across the entire state.

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