After Backlash, French President Vows To Rebuild St. Martin, Diversify Economy

Nearing the end of a sweeping visit to assess the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the wrecked island of St. Martin and diversify its economy away from tourism.

Image: ENA-POOL/SIPA/SPPFR

In further responses to complaints that his government didn’t do enough to handle Irma’s wrath, Macron also promised to evacuate residents of his country’s Caribbean territories and provide services and shelter for those who choose to stay.

Macron stayed overnight on St. Martin, reportedly sleeping on a camp cot, and was heading Wednesday to the heavily-damaged island of St. Barts with the French health minister, who has warned about diseases spreading on the islands after water supplies, electricity and communication were knocked out for days.

“What we have seen today are people determined to rebuild and return to a normal life,” Macron said Tuesday in a news conference. “They are impatient for answers and some are very, very angry. The anger is legitimate because it is a result of the fear they have faced and of being very fatigued. It is certain that some want to leave, and we will help them in that effort.”

He said France was bringing in air-conditioned tents so children can start classes again soon, and that a center would be established by Monday to begin processing requests for financial help.

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Posted by Libergirl

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