The Dutch Ministry of Defense says two military aircraft will fly to the Caribbean island of Curacao on Thursday afternoon loaded with relief supplies and troops to help authorities on former Dutch colony St. Maarten recover from the devastation of Hurricane Irma.
The ministry says the troops being sent to the region "can also be used to restore public order."
Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk said earlier Thursday that he could not confirm news reports of looting in Saint Maarten, where a curfew is in force in the aftermath of Wednesday's storm.
The ministry says a KDC-10 and a C-130 Hercules are to fly to Curacao from a military air base in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven. The Hercules will then be used to ferry supplies to St. Maarten because it should be able to land at the badly damaged Princess Juliana Airport.
The planes will carry enough food and water to supply the 40,000-strong population for five days.