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  • Residents walk in front of houses destroyed by Hurricane Irma during the visit of France

    Residents walk in front of houses destroyed by Hurricane Irma during the visit of France's President Emmanuel Macron in St Martin. | Photo: Reuters

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The promise comes amid criticism the French government has not done enough to help the colony.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has promised to rebuild Saint Martin after Hurricane Irma devastated the island and left at least 14 people dead.

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Macron told resident on the French Leeward Island “St Martin will be reborn, I promise. … It will be done quickly, it will be done well, and it will be done better.”

The promise comes amid criticism the French government has not done enough to help the colony.

Residents say the government response has been late and insufficient. Many are still without power and running water — a week after the Category 5 storm hit the island.

Macron acknowledged the residences’ grievances but did not take responsibility.

"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," he said.

Reports of looting have added to the insecurity. Last week, French commanders ordered soldiers to sometimes “fire a few shots to maintain order.

The French government has also deployed at least 2,000 security personnel.

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