CNN World News

Caribbean island devastated by hurricane

September 9, 1995
Web posted at: 12:00 p.m. EDT

Luis location

ST. MAARTEN-ST. MARTIN, West Indies (CNN) -- The Dutch and French island of St. Maarten-St. Martin was devastated by Hurricane Luis, leaving an undetermined amount of people missing, tourists stranded, and no electricity. One local said that there was no comparison between 1989's Hurricane Hugo and Luis...Luis was much, much worse.

And Luis, the season's 12th big storm, has is aiming toward Bermuda, already buffeted by Hurricane Felix last month. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda. Luis is expected to pass within 225 miles of the islands sometime Saturday night.

The storm is slowly weakening as it moves northward over open water. Luis is travelling near 16 miles per hour, and was located about 275 west of Bermuda at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday.

But in St. Maarten-St. Martin, the devastation was complete.

"Huge boats are sunk completly underwater, you can just see their masts," said CNN's Kim Segal after returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico, "Trees are uprooted and those that didn't get uprooted are bare, there's not a leaf on them.

"Any structure that's still standing has water damage or broken windows or roofs blown off," Segal reported.

She added that the Dutch side of the island appeared worse than the French.

street in storm

Tourists are concerned about when the airport will reopen and that relatives back home be notified they are safe. Segal said people begged her to phone family members that they had survived.

Segal said she drove the entire island and saw no government officials and no shelters. She said she could not get accurate numbers on deaths, injuries, or missing people. Police from other islands are now helping local authorities control looting on the island.

The island was not prepared, according to tourists. The island has no electricity, few generators, and limited water. One grocery store partially collapsed, and the owner let people take whatever food they could.


Copyright © 1995 Cable News Network, Inc.