SA residents finally coming home after Hurricane Irma strikes during Caribbean vacation

British Virgin Islands Royal Navy Hurricane Irma

Some 500 United Kingdom troops have been sent to Anguilla, Turks and Caicos, and British Virgin Islands (BVI), amid reports of looting in some areas. Irma also left the city of Naples underwater, deluged the popular Brit tourist spot of Orlando and caused record storm surges in Jacksonville. He said he plans to travel to the islands this week, and will continue fundraising when the immediate emergency is over to help finance the rebuilding effort. "It's a destruction zone".

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"I had lived on his lovely lush island, and after the storm, every leaf was gone", Smith says. They will be trying to get the message out that tourists should not cancel their visits. "Most of them, I don't think, will come back in under a year, but some of them will be able to come back by the beginning of the season". "Everything they have is gone". Several organizations have mobilized resources and personnel to assist local authorities and anticipate that existing capacities within the country will suffice in responding to the effects of Irma.

"We are USA citizens, and the USA government needs to come and help".

Duncan said a total of nine people died in British Caribbean territories - five in the BVI and four in Anguilla. It's likely the hospital she worked for will take a few years to get up and running again.

In 2016, parts of the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti were torn apart by hurricane Matthew - also a category 5 storm. "It's completely destroyed. Nobody has anything left".

Meanwhile Zooniverse, an online organisation made up of citizen scientists, has been brought in to analyse images of the storm-hit areas, taken by the European Space Agency's Sentinel-2 satellites, through The Planetary Response Network.

And, you know, got to remember, this is an island. St. Croix, the most populated of the islands in the chain, escaped relatively unscathed because its location some 45 miles to the south spared it a direct hit.

On St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, "people there are roaming like zombies", said Stacey Alvarado, a bar owner who managed to leave for the mainland.

"Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged", Branson wrote in the caption. "It was just awful". "Was this really St. Thomas?"

On the islands of St Martin and St Barts, where smashed cars and boats line the streets, at least 10 people have lost their lives. But as the US prepared for the catastrophic storm-just a week after Hurricane Harvey-Kate and other residents of the American territory felt they became an afterthought. St. Thomas has more than 90 percent without power generation.

Private aid and donations have been making it to the territory as well. "We commend the cooperative actions of the White House, USVI government, FEMA and the whole federal family to provide urgent relief to the Virgin Islands". "This is a horrific disaster", Mapp said at Sunday's news conference.

"'Majesty of the Seas' was in St. Thomas on Tuesday to pick up evacuees and drop them off in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, where it will also pick up supplies", Royal Caribbean Cruises told CNBC.