Unit deployed to Virgin Islands to help with Irma recovery

The US government is turning away people trying to flee the hurricane-devastated British Virgin Islands for the nearby US Virgin Islands unless they are American citizens, refusing even those with US visitor visas, storm survivors have told the Guardian.

He said 90 percent of St. Thomas' electrical distribution was destroyed and about half of St. John's grid is down.

St. Thomas and St. John, two of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, took almost a direct hit from Category 5 Irma, leaving many portions of both islands in shambles, forests stripped bare, and residents likely in the dark for weeks or months, officials say. Utility officials warned it could take 10 days or more for power to be fully restored.

"We are just asking that not just for ourselves - please, please call your local electives, call your assemblymen, call your senators, call your embassies and tell them you have citizens who are stranded here, Anguilla, St. Bart's and we just need to go home", Tiffany Bender told CBSN.

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the U.S. has evacuated approximately 1,200 Americans from Dutch-administered St. Marteen in the last 24 hours, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Sunday.

President Donald Trump has declared the islands part of a major disaster zone and federal aid was sent to help residents recover.

Dixon Strickling evacuated with her family to Puerto Rico with help from volunteers.

"From the ceiling, it was coming from the elevator, and at that point we had packed emergency bags with our passports and necessities and we picked up our emergency bags and ran into the staircase where other guests were", Bender said.

Similarly, there has been damage caused across the 50 British Virgin Islands, and five people are known to have died. "But British Virgin Islands Hurricane #Irma story is not about Necker - it is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods", Richard captioned the post. "We're going to rebuild".

He told MPs: "The prison was breached, over 100 very serious prisoners escaped". The other side is under Dutch sovereignty.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is to fly to the Caribbean later in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Irma.

There also was widespread damage to Varadero, Cuba's main beach resort for foreigners.

  • Jack Mann