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Boris Johnson To Visit To Caribbean After Hurricane Irma Response Condemned

Stranded Brit says they had to rely on French to get them out.

12/09/2017 09:15 | Updated 12 September 2017

Boris Johnson is to fly to the Caribbean to see firsthand the destruction Hurricane Irma wrought, after the Government was widely condemned for failing to help British citizens and territories.

The Foreign Secretary will visit the British Virgin Islands and Anguilla, which suffered severe damage by the storm which killed dozens and destroyed buildings and infrastructure.

Amy Brown, a British mother-of-two, who told HuffPost UK how she and other Britons were trapped in Saint Martin while other EU citizens were flown out, only got out because she was evacuated by the French.

She accused Johnson of “abandoning” her.

Handout . / Reuters
The damage done on the British Virgin Islands, as photographed on Sunday

Brown, 36, has now reached Martinque, after the French “took pity” on the stranded British and flew them out, she said.

Another Brit, Lynette Lock, whose 42-year-old son Darren Fry was missing in Tortola after the disaster but has now been found safe, said the Foreign Office had been “useless”.

“The house he hid in lost the upper floor but the ground floor survived, thank god,” she told HuffPost UK.

“Now begins the nightmare of getting him home with no money.”

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Briton Darren Fry survived the hurricane on the island of Tortola and now has to return to Britain with no money

Jeremy Corbyn has said the Government “should have acted much faster”.

Johnson has defended the response, calling it “timely and highly organised”.

As well as relief efforts, Britain’s embassies and consuls have been criticised.

Hayley Brown, who started a Facebook group for the friends and family of Brits being evacuated from Cuba, said one woman had an bad experience with the UK embassy there.

“They told her nothing. They couldn’t help her. They basically had nothing to say about what had happened in Cuba. They took identification details off her... I don’t even think they were very reassuring,” Brown said.

PA Wire/PA Images
Boris Johnson is to fly to the Caribbean after the British response to the hurricane was condemned

Johnson will visit those hit by the storm and and is expected to also visit the governors of the islands.

Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean has been sent to the Caribbean, the second Royal Navy ship sent to the area.

Seven hundred soldiers, 50 police officers and 20 tonnes of aid have already been sent.

Before she got off Saint Martin by the French, Brown described how most of her resort was destroyed in the hurricane and Brits waited at the island’s airport in vain, once for up to 13 hours, in the burning sun with little food or water.

She told HuffPost UK on Monday: “Boris can tell everyone what a good job he’s doing in British territories but he has abandoned British citizens to other Governments who are helping their citizens proactively and not waiting passively leaving their citizens with no running water and increasing crime.”

Amy Brown
Amy Brown said Johnson had 'abandoned' her and other Brits stuck on Saint Martin. She was evacuated by the French.
MARTIN BUREAU via Getty Images
People inspect the damage on the island of Saint-Martin after the hurricane

On Monday evening, Johnson released a video saying he had chaired a Cobra meeting about the response to the hurricane.

 “We’re saying confidence starting to rise. People getting back to normal,” he said.

“I want you to be in no doubt: we are continuing to work around the clock on all these issues.”

He recited the Foreign Office helpline - 020 7008 0000 - then added: “I think I’ve got it right.”

He acknowledged “some consular issues” on Saint-Martin, where Britons had been stranded.

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