Edouard Philippe in the Caribbean, Two Months after the Hurricanes Maria and Irma

General News
Prime minister Edouard Philippe visits Caribbean

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe goes on Saturday to Martinique, for a three-day trip in the French Caribbean, devastated by Irma and Maria hurricanes.

Edouard Philippe begins Saturday Martinique a three-day trip to the French West Indies, the Prime Minister will complete Monday in the islands of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy, devastated there two months by the Empowered hurricane Irma.

“We barely-emergency exits. Now we need to project into the reconstruction time,” sums do we Matignon upstream of this movement that also happen Sunday Guadeloupe , she struck by the hurricane Maria.

“100% of students” at the school on Monday

The head of government had committed shortly after the disaster: it is present in Saint-Martin Back to School November 6, target of resumption of classes for all school children in the French part of the island .

A quarter of the students was able to return to school three weeks after Irma, other schools have reopened gradually, often with a single home without lessons. Today, of the 21 schools of the island, five schools and one college are still unable to work, and three of them are expected to more than a year to reopen their doors.

But “100% of students” will take school courses on Monday, according to the government. A rotation system was set up to several months in some schools during 7 am to noon for some students, and from 12:30 to 17:30 for others.

“Monday, 90% of teachers will be present in schools and educational institutions. To date, only 13 people have not yet reported to the rector of Guadeloupe “, said on Friday in a statement the Ministry of Education.

The Minister of Overseas Annick Girardin Friday threatened sanctions those who are guilty of “dereliction of duty”.

A month and a half after the mixed reception on the island of Emmanuel Macron, many things remain to be addressed for the St. Martin people (35,000 at the time of the disaster), faced with plant waste mountains of rubble and vehicle wrecks that dot the island here and there. The main airport, Dutch side, has not reopened.

Edouard Philippe visiting the damaged areas of the Caribbean
A photograph taken on September 7 2017, showing the damage caused by Irma on the island of St. Martin. (© AFP / File / Lionel CHAMOISEAU)

“Still too slow”

“It is still too slow for those who live there, who still have expectations,” admitted the Minister of Overseas Annick Girardin Friday on RTL , yet claiming the results, for example 75% of households again connected to the drinking water.

Social benefits like RSA could be paid in cash, but using the “emergency” 300 euros for those who had lost everything still has not been paid, recognizes the government.

To avoid traffic interruptions arouses lust, the community of St. Martin has indeed recommended a more complex logistics of prepaid cards, which should reach the beneficiaries “in the coming days.”

After Saint Martin on Monday morning, the Prime Minister has to go to Saint-Barthélemy on Monday afternoon, where he shall include visiting a stricken hotel site.

In both islands, tourism accounts for nearly a quarter of jobs. If the lack of tourism revenue this season is a certainty, “we must be ready for the next in November 2018,” said the government.

The West Indies on the agenda

The government is moving in force Edouard Philippe is accompanied by the ministers Annick Girardin (Overseas), Jean-Michel Blanquer (Education) and Laura Flessel (Sport), and two secretaries of state.

The trip will begin Saturday in Martinique, where the prime minister wanted to highlight the youth, an island which has an alarming aging demographic.

Having gathered at the grave of Aimé Césaire, he will meet with the regiment in Lamentin adapted military service, which includes a thousand young volunteers Martinique, some of which had been sent to rescue St. Martin.

On Sunday, the official visit will continue in Guadeloupe, where Maria cyclone caused serious damage on 20 September, particularly for agriculture and fishing. Philippe must especially visiting a banana plantation and a chayote farm, as well as fishermen.

The banana, star of the exports from Guadeloupe, has suffered especially, with productions devastated “between 80 and 100%.” A new aid of about 20 to 30 million is raised when the government has accelerated the payment of compensation of Matthew hurricane in 2016.

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