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60 Indians Being Evacuated From Hurricane Irma Hit-French St Martin

Washington:  About 60 Indian nationals are being evacuated from the vacation island of St Martin in the Caribbean, which has been devastated by Hurricane Irma, an extremely powerful storm that wreaked havoc in the region.

Most of the Indian nationals have a transit visa, a temporary short period visa, to the US.

For those who do not have a transit visa, Indian Embassy in Washington is working with the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security for getting them one, so that they can take the first available flight to the US and then travel back home.

The State Department yesterday said it has evacuated some 1,200 of US citizens from the Caribbean island St Martin. An estimated 5,000 Americans are still trapped on this small island that is jointly administered by France and the Netherlands.

More than 1,100 police, military officials and others were deployed to St Martin and the nearby French Caribbean territory of St Barts, where they used helicopters to identify the cars of people looting stores and homes.

Deputy Indian Ambassador to US Santosh Jha said over the last 48 hours the main preoccupation has been to get in touch with Indians in all parts of southern US and in the islands in the western Atlantic.

“And think we should today recognise that they are in the situation of great difficulty,” he said.

“We had (hurricane) Harvey just the previous month in Houston and today we are trying to cope up with the Hurricane Irma in Florida. The entire embassy since this morning has been working on that,” he said.

India, he said, over the last few years, have mounted to evacuate Indians and people of Indian-origin from various parts of the world – Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

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