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King Willem-Alexander concludes visit to Dutch Caribbean islands ravaged by Hurricane Irma

King Willem-Alexander has concluded his visit to the Dutch Caribbean islands that have been ravaged by Hurricane Irma. He departed for Curaçao on Sunday, accompanied by Ronald Plasterk, Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, where he was briefed on the aid that was being sent from Curaçao to St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius.

On Monday, King Willem-Alexander and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations visited St Maarten, where they were met at the Princess Juliana International Airport by Governor Eugene Holiday and the Prime Minister of St Maarten William Marlin.

They were briefed on the current situation and driven around the island. They visited a number of the affected areas and spoke with emergency workers on several locations. The final stop was Point Blanche, a scenic viewpoint where they assessed the situation in the port and the condition of a water tank.

King Willem-Alexander was shocked by the devastation, “Everywhere you look, you see destruction and desperation.”

On Tuesday, King Willem-Alexander and the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations visited Saba and St Eustatius. They began on Saba where they were met at the airport by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson. They visited the crisis centre on the island and spoke with emergency workers and victims.

On St Eustatius, they were met by Island Governor Julian Woodley. They met with representatives of the electricity company which had quickly restored power to the island and with emergency workers. He also assured the people of St Eustatius that the Netherlands would not abandon them.

Before the visit to the Caribbean islands, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima released the following statement: “St Maarten, St Eustatius and Saba are being ravaged by the destructive forces of nature. Hurricane Irma is taking a heavy toll. Our hearts go out to the people of all the affected islands. They have our deepest sympathy. You are dear to us, and we are with you in our thoughts.”

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