Irma death toll in St Maarten climbs to four

Damaged buildings and fallen trees litter downtown Marigot on the island of St. Martin after the passing of Hurricane Irma

Damaged buildings and fallen trees litter downtown Marigot on the island of St. Martin after the passing of Hurricane Irma

Gov. Rick Scott says the entire west coast of Florida will likely see risky effects from storm surge as Hurricane Irma comes ashore Sunday.

Winds of up to 300kmh hit the island as the Category 5 hurricane tore up through the Caribbean.

The end of the airport runway is separated from Maho Beach by a two-lane road.

Dutch authorities are trying to gauge the extent of damage, but officials say it appears to be significant.

Sint Maarten is an independent nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with a population of about 40,000 - about the same as the French side.

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Hurricane Irma has left at least nine people dead, seven missing and 112 injured on the French Caribbean islands of St Martin and St Barts and coastal residents should take shelter as a new storm approaches, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb says.

St Maarten has been autonomous since 2010, but remains part of the Dutch commonwealth.

For the third day running since Hurricane Irma pummelled the island on Wednesday, Rutte held crisis talks with his cabinet to discuss the situation. Video during the storm showed debris flying in the extreme winds.

About 100 troops are on the island helping local authorities assess damage and fix vital infrastructure in the storm's aftermath.

"We intend to resume efforts to get American citizens out of St. Maarten as soon as it safe to do so", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

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