The hurricane destroyed the hospital in St. Thomas, and the island's harbor was wrecked, as were dozens of businesses and hundreds of homes.
He told reporters that air and sea connections with the French Caribbean islands should gradually return to normal by the end of the week, allowing up to 2,500 people a day to leave the island.
In Dutch St Maarten, 70 per cent of houses were badly damaged or destroyed, leaving much of the 40,000 population in public shelters. "They had to set up militias and take turns defending themselves (against looters)", she said.
Touring Saint Martin, Macron was at times jeered by people waiting for aid supplies or hoping to catch flights for France in order to escape the devastation across the island. Government spokesman Christophe Castaner, meanwhile, said he understood the islanders' frustration but blamed the criticisms in part on the "emotional shock, an impact that's extremely hard psychologically". Irma caused most of the damage to the British Virgin Islands on Tortola, the largest and most populated island.
"I can not describe or even imagine going through something like this again and to be on the verge of it again is absolutely terrifying", Bender said.
About 1,900 French police and troops are now on the ground to ensure security in St. Martin and power has been restored in about 50 percent of its homes, the French president said.
The military were to evacuate Dutch tourists to Curacao, another Dutch island off of Venezuela, using two Hercules C-130 transporter planes, and the navy said it would begin large-scale distribution of food and water on Monday.
She said: "I was out this morning and this afternoon and there was looting right there in front of my eyes".
Those left behind on St. Thomas and St. John were surviving on whatever they could find as they tried to fix or secure their houses with whatever materials were available.
Under pressure to be more responsive, foreign minister Boris Johnson is expected to travel to the region on Tuesday for a visit to the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla.
The government told all residents to stay inside and put the island and St. Barts on its highest alert level as Hurricane Jose rolled through the area.
Although the United States territory avoided a direct hit, its infrastructure was badly affected - more than half of the island's three million residents were without power and officials said many could be cut off for several days. Stop showing us footage of destruction here - we know that already... come help us!
"I have seen proper war as well as natural disasters before, but I've never seen anything like this", he said.
Although Georgia and SC avoided the worst of Irma's destructive path, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency after 340,000 were left without electricity and four people died. French authorities said some 1,105 recovery workers were deployed on St. Martin and St. Barts. The British government is also getting criticized for what many residents and tourists are calling a slow response to its territories. Later on Tuesday he saw for himself the damage in Saint-Martin.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne said 95% of buildings on Barbuda had been damaged, and the island was "literally under water" and "barely habitable".