The U.S. military has evacuated 158 American citizens from the island St. Martin and expects to airlift an additional 700, the Pentagon announced Saturday.
The military is using five C-130 aircraft for the mission after Hurricane Irma devastated St. Martin. Approximately 5,000 Americans remain on the island, with priority evacuations being given to those who require medical assistance, U.S. Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert told ABCNews.
“These operations will expand as weather conditions improve after Hurricane Jose passes the island,” Nauert said, referencing an additional hurricane forming in the Atlantic Ocean. “Until Hurricane Jose has safely passed, we strongly advise U.S. citizens to shelter in place at a secure location.”
Dutch officials believe that Irma either badly damaged or destroyed 70 percent of the homes on St. Martin. The storm continues to bear down on the Florida coast, where millions of U.S. citizens have been ordered to evacuate.
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