Why took it so long to get relief efforts going?

The severity of the destruction on St Maarten is hampering communication and efforts to bring aid and relief to the island.

The seaport and airport are now partially operational and naval ships have been able to offload emergency supplies and military personnel.

Relief supplies have already been brought in on four flights by Hercules transport aircraft, and three vessels transporting food, water and other relief supplies are now in the region.

In hurricane season (June to December), there is a constant threat of landfall, but hurricanes often change course and head northwards. The Ministry of Defence monitors developments closely. Annual training on St Maarten ensures military personnel are prepared for such events and that they can get to work immediately in the aftermath of a hurricane.