UPDATE:Afiya and Asha Frank have been found “alive and well” and are helping to organise the evacuation effort, according to their aunt Ruth Bolton. She tweeted on Thursday night that both women were “safe and unharmed” and would be travelling to Antigua.
A pregnant British woman and her sister have not been heard from since Hurricane Irma barrelled through the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda.
Afiya Frank, 27, is due to give birth in November and was set to fly to the UK next week because her child cannot be delivered at the local hospital.
Her sister Asha Frank, 29, last texted their family back in Suffolk and London at 10.30pm on Wednesday.
Afiya Frank (right) and her sister Asha (left), who is a former beauty queen
Afiya, Asha and their Barbudian father Mackenzie were on the island together, while their mother Claire Frank is in the UK with her sister Ruth Bolton.
Bolton told the Evening Standard she and her sister were “going out of their minds” with worry.
“The three of them were all in the house together and they had boarded up the property,” she said.
“Since then we have not heard anything.”
Nearly every building on Barbuda was damaged when the hurricane’s core crossed almost directly over the island on Wednesday.
Around 60 per cent of its roughly 1,400 residents were left homeless, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Associated Press.
He said roads and telecommunications systems were wrecked and recovery would take months, if not years. He added that a two-year-old child had been killed as a family tried to escape a damaged home during the storm.
Bolton has started an online appeal to raise £5,000 to get a satellite phone to the island to allow communication.
She wrote: “We don’t know what they need at the moment as we have had no news, but a satellite phone would be a start. If we can just help them be able to communicate with the outside world then that would be great. They will surely need other help, but this is a start and any money raised will be sent to Barbuda Council to spend on restoring the infrastructure of the island.”
At least ten people are believed to have been killed in the storm.
Darren Fry, from Cardiff is also missing. The 42-year-old, who is captain of a daily charter catamaran in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, has not been heard from since Wednesday morning.
His mother Lynette Lock told HuffPost UK: ” We are frantic, everyone is in a complete panic. The whole island has been decimated. We don’t know if the house is even still standing.
“We’re seeing pictures of Richard Branson in his wine cellar but no one is telling us what is happening on the island.”
A fundraiser to assist the relief effort in the British Virgin Islands has also been set up.