World Bulletin / News Desk
The French-Dutch island of St Martin, where white sands and turquoise waters once drew foreign visitors in droves, is now attracting a different kind of population: rats and mosquitoes.
Add to that the absence of fresh running water, and the situation is ripe for a health epidemic.
"Yes, there are risks of outbreaks," said Annick Girardin, the French minister for overseas affairs, who spent a week on St Martin following the Category five storm.
"There is an existing problem on the issue of contaminated water, the issue of trash, basically the issue of hygiene."
In poorer neighbourhoods where many families were not able to evacuate, residents fear the spread of mosquitoes -- which can carry diseases ranging from Zika and dengue fever to chikungunya.
"My son has a fever maybe due to a mosquito," said Natacha, a resident in the Sandy Ground neighbourhood near Marigot. "We will have to clean to prevent too many mosquitoes, or else there will be outbreaks. But it's difficult without water."
"If we get sick, we'll have to go to Guadeloupe".
According to an AFP journalist, in some neighbourhoods like Concordia, control programs had begun on Wednesday.
Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2017, 14:15