Dutch King to Visit Curacao, to View Caribbean Islands Aid Op


King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will visit the island of Curacao on Sunday to witness first-hand the aid operation for hurricane-hit territories, and may travel to stricken St Martin, Dutch officials said.

"His Majesty the king will leave on Sunday for Curacao, accompanied by Interior Minister (Ronald) Plasterk," the royal house said in a statement.

The men would "be briefed about the aid operation which is being organized from Curacao" for the Dutch islands pummeled by Hurricane Irma on Wednesday.

"If it is possible, they will then travel on to Sint Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius," the statement added.

There are reports of looting on St Martin -- known as Sint Maarten in Dutch -- and Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday: "The situation is serious."

"The authorities there are finding it difficult to carry out their duties because of the loss of communications," he told reporters.

Troops already arrived on the Caribbean island, which is divided between the Dutch and the French, will also be charged with restoring order.

An extra 100 soldiers were sent before the storm to join 35 already stationed in the Dutch part, and another 100 have been dispatched. 

But Plasterk said more could be deployed "if necessary."