Starving islanders are fighting each other for food on hurricane-hit St Martin as tourists boarding evacuation flights wept tears of relief at escaping the ‘biblical-scale destruction’.
Residents have been seen brawling in the streets over the last supplies on the island, which was laid to waste by Hurricane Irma amid reports gangs of armed looters are continuing to terrorise communities.
It comes as pictures emerged of exhausted islanders and tourists being evacuated from the island as part of a major international relief effort.
Hundreds of holidaymakers are still trying to leave, with dozens lining up outside the Princess Juliana Airport, which was left in ruins in the storm.
There have been reports of people arming themselves with machetes to defend themselves on the island while one soldier said he was stopping a looting every ten minutes.
Meanwhile, looting has also been reported in the British Virgin Islands where prisoners managed to escape during the hurricane. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is set to fly to the islands and Anguilla ‘in the coming days’ as part of a visit to British territories devastated by the storm.
Mass evacuations are gathering pace from islands hit by Hurricane Irma. Residents and tourists trapped on St Martin broke down in tears as they prepared to board planes to leave the island
A young woman breaks down in tears as she prepares to leave St Martin. People trapped on the island have described the destruction there as ‘biblical’
Wasteland: Debris lies strewn across a beach as a group of people inspect the damage caused by Irma on the island of St Martin
Devastation: Pictures show the remains of a bulding destroyed in Grand-Case, on the French Caribbean island of St Martin
Hundreds of holidaymakers are still trying to leave St Martin, with dozens lining up outside the Princess Juliana Airport, which was left in ruins in the storm. People are pictured lining up to board a plane at the terminal
Aftermath: Luxury yachts lie stacked up on top of each other in marinas on the island of St Martin in the wake of the hurricane
Members of the New York Air National Guard help evacuees as they prepare to leave St. Maarten for the safety of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Exhausted holidaymakers, carrying their suitcases on their laps, are pictured on a flight away from the hurricane-hit island of St Martin last night
French police are pictured chasing looters in St Martin amid reports a gang of 600 thieves are terrorising islanders
Terrified tourists on the Dutch-French island of St Martin have described cowering in their hotel rooms amid reports up to 600 looters are running riot (pictured in a still taken from a video posted on Facebook)
On St Martin people have been arming themselves with machetes to defend themselves as looting takes hold.
One islander, Jacques Charbonnier, said ‘all the food is gone now’ and revealed ‘people are fighting in the streets for what is left’, the Independent reports.
Another, 70-year-old Germania Perez, said: ‘There’s no food here. There’s no water here.’
Help was making it to the island, from the Dutch and French governments, other nations and private organisations. A French military ship with supplies was due to arrive today, coinciding with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron.
One unidentified tourist abandoned a Yorkshire terrier named Oliver, tied to a barricade with airport security tape, as some people were told they could not bring pets. The tiny dog was later rescued by a local resident who took pity on him.
As foreigners rushed to leave the island, some of those staying behind are still seeking meals and something to drink.
‘We need water and food. It’s not a “maybe.” It’s a “for sure,”‘ said Phillip King, a 53-year-old tour bus driver. ‘My job is done right now. It’s gone for a long time.’
The world-famous Princess Juliana International Airport (pictured) in Phillipsburg, St Martin was left in ruins when the storm hit last week
A man kisses his wife holding their baby as they board a plane at Grand-Case Esperance airport to flee from Saint-Martin as a mass evacuation gathers pace
Response: Members of the New York Air National Guard help a wheelchair-bound pensioner on to a plane at St Martin ahead of a flight to Puerto Rico
Military aircraft have been airlifting exhausted holidaymakers off the island of St Martin amid reports looting is continuing on the streets
Devastated residents survey the ‘biblical-scale’ damage on St Martin last night in the wake of Hurricane Irma
Wreckage: Luxury beach-front hotels and villas on the holiday island of St Marting were ravaged by the force of Hurricane Irma
A tangled ship’s mast rests on the dock in Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of St Martin as residents come to terms with the destruction
The roof of this property was torn off by the force of 185mph winds that swept across St Martin last week. Mass evacuations are now underway
Damage: Trees were shredded or torn out of the ground and houses left in ruins on St Martin as Hurricane Irma struck
Relieved tourists show officials their passports as they prepare to board a plane and escape the hurricane-hit island of St Martin
Shelter also is a growing concern for many residents.
Dalaney Kertzious, a 44-year-old port security officer, spent the hurricane at a hotel that evacuated its guests after the storm blew out windows. She found another hotel but has to leave with her 17-year-old daughter by Tuesday and does not want to stay in their home because it has no roof.
‘I will try my best, but I have nowhere to spend the night,’ she said, adding that the homes of her family and friends are already full.
As night falls, residents hurry inside, fearful of robbers roaming the streets and of the handful of men walking around with sunglasses and yanking chains tied to aggressive dogs.
‘We can’t sleep in peace because of the thieves,’ said Yovanny Roque, a 48-year-old mover.
Across the island, cars lie tossed upside down, at 90-degree angles and on top of other cars. Large boats lean sideways on dry land.
‘The destruction is on a biblical scale,’ said 51-year-old Raju Budhrani. ‘It’s how you see it in the movies. It’s actually worse than that.’
‘Once you have life, hope is there,’ said 64-year-old retiree Albertus Williams.
At least 35 people have been killed by Irma in the Caribbean, 10 of which were in Cuba. That is Cuba’s worst hurricane death toll since 16 died in Hurricane Dennis in 2005.
A despondent Mariela Leon sits in front of her flood-damaged home after Hurricane Irma ravaged the community of Isabela de Sagua in Cuba
Cuban state media reported 10 deaths despite the country’s usually rigorous disaster preparations. More than 1 million were evacuated from flood-prone areas. An abandoned doll is pictured in Isabela de Sagua in Cuba
A girl sits on a mattress soaked by the floods as others survey the scenes of devastation at Isabela de Sagua in Cuba
Lourdes Rivera loads buckets to collect water in front of her house that was destroyed by Hurricane Irma, in Isabela de Sagua, Cuba
People collect water from a broken tube after Hurricane Irma caused mass flooding and a blackout in Havana, Cuba
Hungry residents line up to buy bread after Hurricane Irma caused flooding and a blackout in Havana, Cuba
Several crosses stand surrounded by flood waters caused by Hurricane Irma, in the cemetery in Isabela de Sagua, Cuba
Damage is seen next to Cuban flags that were hung up to dry after Hurricane Irma caused flooding and a blackout, in Havana, Cuba
People put furniture out to dry outside their homes after Hurricane Irma caused flooding and a blackout, in Havana, Cuba
Havana was in recovery mode Monday, with crews cleaning away thousands of fallen trees and electric restored to a handful of neighborhoods. Schools were closed until further notice. President Raul Castro issued a message to the nation that didn’t mention the deaths, but described damage to ‘housing, the electrical system and agriculture.’
He also acknowledged destruction in the northern keys where Cuba and foreign hotel management firms have built dozens of all-inclusive beach resorts in recent years. The Jardines del Rey airport serving the northern keys was destroyed, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported, tweeting photos of a shattered terminal hall littered with debris.
‘The storm hit some of our principal tourist destinations but the damage will be repaired before the high season,’ starting in November, Castro wrote.
To the east, in the Leeward Islands known as the playground for the rich and famous, governments came under criticism for failing to respond quickly to the hurricane, which flattened many towns and turned lush, green hills to a brown stubble.
Residents have reported food, water and medicine shortages, as well as looting.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended his government’s response to what he called an ‘unprecedented catastrophe’ and promised to increase funding for the relief effort. Britain sent a navy ship and almost 500 troops to the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands.
Britain and France have both sent extra police resources and the Netherlands have dispatched troops to the region amid reports of lawlessness in the wake of the devastating 185mph storm.
UK troops have arrived in the British Virgin Islands as part of Britain’s response to the disaster. They are pictured meeting locals in Road Town on the island of Tortola
Troops are being called in to stop looters armed with guns and machetes on hurricane-ravaged St Martin with food, water and medicine running low, it has emerged. Soldiers from the Netherlands are pictured patrolling the streets on the Dutch side of the island
Wasteland: There have been reports of widespread looting on the island of St Martin which lies in ruins after Hurricane Irma. This was the scene of devastation on the island this morning
Terrified tourists on the Dutch-French island of St Martin have described cowering in their hotel rooms amid reports up to 600 looters are running riot. One soldier posted on the island said he was ‘stopping a looter every 10 minutes’.
Sam Branson, the son of Virgin tycoon Richard Branson, whose luxury resort in the British Virgin Islands was destroyed in the storm, warned of ‘civil unrest’ and said prisoners had escaped.
Frightened residents have also complained of looting on the islands of Anguilla, Barbuda and St. Barts after howling 185mph Irma tore through the region.
On St Martin, there are reports of some residents arming themselves with machetes to stop looters amid a crime wave on the island.
Regional police chief Jean-Marc Descoux said some 500-600 local delinquents were probably responsible for most of the looting, taking advantage of the devastation for personal profit.
The storefronts in the centre of Marigot are testament to the paranoid atmosphere gripping the island. Every shop has its metal shutters drawn. Some show signs of being forced open with crowbars.
Residents have also complained of looting on the islands of Anguilla, Barbuda, the and St. Barts after howling 185mph Irma tore through the region. A woman and two children walk through the debris left by Irma in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands
French police have been sent to St Martin to bolster security as it emerged up to 600 looters are running riot. The officers are pictured on Guadeloupe before heading to the island
British troops delivering fresh water during disaster relief in Tortola on the British Virgin Islands, where soldiers were deployed to restore order
The deployment of British troops followed reports of looting in the wake of Hurricane Irma and criticism of the government’s response
On one corner, a clothing shop stands open to the elements, its windows smashed in. The mannequins have been stripped of their clothes; the coathangers are bare.
A soldier posted in the Bellevue commercial district to the south revealed he was stopping a looting every ten minutes.
Several people who were stranded on the island said looters had begun raiding hotel rooms and homes to profit from the natural disaster.
Claudia Knight, 33, runs an arts school on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands but managed to return to the UK with her toddler daughter before Hurricane Irma unleashed devastation.
Her marine engineer partner Leo Whitting, 38, stayed behind – but after seeing images of the awesome power of the storm Ms Knight said she thought he had died.
People evacuated from St Martin looked shaken after landing at the Charles de Gaulle airport, north of Paris, on Monday
Dutch king Willem-Alexander at Filipsburg on the Dutch Caribbean island of Saint Martin after it was hit by Hurricane Irma
Willem-Alexander and Minister of Internal Affairs Ronald Plasterk arrive at a damaged Princess Juliana International Airport in St Martin
France, Britain and the Netherlands have all sent extra security resources to the Caribbean. French troops are pictured securing the entrance to St Martin’s airport
Terrified tourists stranded on the Dutch-French island St Martin (pictured) say looters have started raiding hotel rooms, homes and shops
One islander said he was ‘stopping a looter every 10 minutes’ amid reports some business owners are arming themselves wit machetes to keep out thieves
Reinforcements: French Navy frigates FS Ventose and FS Germinal have been sent to St. Martin, to bolster relief support and amid reports of widespread looting
Relief materials and supplies have been delivered to St Martin by the French Navy. France has also sent extra police amid reports of looting on the island
Damaged buildings are seen in Punta Alegre, northern coast of Ciego de Avila province of Cuba after Hurricane Irma passed through the area on September 11
The son of Virgin billionaire Richard Branson has warned of ‘civil unrest’ in the Caribbean after the devastation of Hurricane Irma as troops were called in to handle looters
She said: ‘I honestly thought he was dead. Before I was making jokes like ‘make sure you park my car’, it was quite light-hearted because we didn’t know the storm was going to be that bad.
‘The military is everywhere with machine guns. Everyone’s turned feral and no-one’s going out without being armed.
‘You can’t drive your car without a weapon, it’s turning really nasty. Leo carries a knife with him.’
Ms Knight, originally from Dorset, has lived on the island for the past four years with Mr Whitting and the couple have a two-year-old daughter, Dottie.
She managed to speak with him thanks to ‘brief flickers of internet’, adding ‘he phoned me shortly after and said I’m alive – Tortola isn’t.
‘He looked like he has been touching death’s door, he’s very pale and gaunt. My house and my business have been blown away and destroyed. Nothing is left standing on the island.
‘But we love it, and we want to go out and rebuild eventually.’
Britain has sent a navy ship and almost 500 troops to help people on the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands that were pummeled by the hurricane. Troops are pictured meeting locals in the British Virgin Islands
The British government is defending its response to Hurricane Irma amid claims it has been slow to help its overseas territories devastated by the storm. UK troops are pictured on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands
Britain has pledged £32 million in aid and sent hundreds of troops, supplies and rescue equipment on several flights to the British territories in the Caribbean since Friday. They are pictured talking to an islander on storm-ravaged Tortola
Royal Marines from 40 Commando talk to a local residents in Road Town on Tortola – part of the British Virgin Islands
Ruins: The scale of the hurricane’s power can be seen in this aerial picture of a town in the British Virgin Islands
Entire houses were blown apart on the British Virgin Islands while trees were ripped up and power cables brought down
Sam Branson, the son of tycoon Richard Branson, released a video message, warning of lawlessness in the British Virgin Islands. Pictures show the devastation in the area
Luxury yachts are still piled on top of each other in marinas in Road Town, on Tortola – part of the British Virgin Islands. There have been reports of looting in the area
Buildings were left in ruins and Yachts were piled on top of each other in the harbour and many houses in the hillside capital of Road Town (pictured) on the main island of Tortola were badly damaged
On patrol: Royal Marines from 40 Commando could be seen walking the streets on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Isles
Ms Knight said people were beginning to evacuate but you had to ‘pay through the nose’ to be shuttled off, adding Mr Whitting would hopefully manage to leave in the next few days.
She said: ‘I’m so guilty of seeing something terrible on the news then, you know, going back to your dinner after.
‘But when it really happens to you and people you love have near-death experiences it’s horrible. The Government needs to do more to help.’
Jos Smart, 26, and his girlfriend Julia Taylor, 30, reported being too afraid to leave their ‘half-destroyed’ hotel amid reports of looting and violence outside.
Richard Branson: We need a new Marshall Plan to help rebuild the Caribbean
Branson, has lived in the British Virgin Islands for the past 11 years and weathered Irma on Necker, his private island. In a blog post on virgin.com, he urged a multi-million pound effort to revitalise the Caribbean after the devastation.
He called for a ‘Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan’ to aid in recovery and the long-term revitalization of its economy – a reference to the multibillion-dollar U.S. program that helped rebuild Western European after World War Two.
‘We must get more help to the islands to rebuild homes and infrastructure and restore power, clean water and food supplies,’ said Branson, head of the Virgin Group conglomerate.
He said he was writing from Puerto Rico, where had traveled to mobilize aid efforts, and said he would be returning to the Virgin Islands soon for recovery work.
Branson said the British government had a ‘massive role to play’ in rebuilding its territories, including the British Virgin Islands, an offshore financial center.
Describing the apocalyptic scenes in St Maarten Jos Smart’s father Ian said: ‘They have not had any water for a day.
‘They said the sounds were apocalyptic and they have likened it to a war zone. They are holed up in a half-demolished bathroom and their phone is running out of battery. There have been rats in their room looking for food.’
Bryce White, 26, is stranded in Cuba with girlfriend Sophie Clarke, 23, in a hotel room with six others. They said they had just two litres of water and a few ham sandwiches.
His worried father Richard, 58, from Gloucestershire, said yesterday: ‘They have been told there is no more food or water and have been forced to look for fallen coconuts outside.’
He said some holiday reps on the island ‘disappeared for 24 hours then reappeared, apologised and then got blind drunk’. He added: ‘They keep saying ‘there’s nothing we can do’. We have begged Thomson to fly them home but they say nothing is wrong’.
On St Martin, Cambridgeshire couple Ross McEwan, 61, and wife Lesley, 63, have been marooned for six days.
Mrs McEwan’s sister Elaine Sorensen, 57, said the couple waited for a rescue flight at the airport every day from 5.30am with one Red Cross-issued bottle of water.
‘The French said that because they hadn’t heard from the Foreign Office in an official request they wouldn’t take them because they didn’t want refugees,’ she said. ‘They watched a half-empty plane take off.’
Charlotte Goffe and her husband Ricky, from Warwickshire, are stuck in Cuba with their young son. Mrs Goffe said it was ‘the honeymoon from hell’.
One woman claimed US and British tourists had been attacked after they became stranded.
Troops were called in on Friday to offset the problem.
Meanwhile, a further 50 British police officers were sent to help deal with looting on the British Virgin Islands, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said, as he pledged to be there ‘in the long-term’ for British residents.
Britain has sent a navy ship and almost 500 troops to help people on the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands that were pummeled by the hurricane.
Meanwhile Sam Branson, the son of tycoon Richard Branson, released a video message, warning of lawlessness in the area.
Supplies are pictured stacked up and waiting to be loaded on to a ship in Gibraltar yesterday ahead of a rescue mission to the Caribbean
Crew in Gibraltar prepare to move supplies on to the Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean before she crosses the Atlantic to provide humanitarian assistance and vital aid to British Overseas Territories and Commonwealth partners affected by Hurricane Irma
Britain has faced criticism that it has been slow to help its nationals caught up in the disaster – including in the British Virgin Islands, where five people were killed. But Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the criticism ‘completely unjustified’. Military personnel are pictured loading a ship with supplies ahead of a voyage to the Caribbean
A member of the Royal Air Force hangs a British Navy White Ensign on an helicopter on board the amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean at the Naval Base in Gibraltar before leaving to help with the rescue effort in the Caribbean
Ready for action: The Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Ocean (pictured yesterday) has been loaded up ahead of being sent to the Caribbean to provide vital supplies to the hurricane-hit region
Response: British troops in Gibraltar take a breather as they help to load up a ship destined for the Caribbean
He said: ‘I’ve been getting some updates on the ground out there on the British Virgin Islands and it’s really sad to say that there is a lot of civil unrest. Unfortunately some of the prisoners have escaped and are now armed.’
‘It’s really important if you are helping and you are trying to send supply boats out to the area that you go and get information on the ground from official channels and ideally you have some security on the boats
‘I don’t want to panic anyone but it’s really important people are aware of the situation there. Some areas are okay, some aren’t. Just get the right information. It’s just incredibly tragic.’
Elsewhere, France, which oversees neighbouring Saint Barthelemy and the other half of St Martin, said the police presence on the two islands had been boosted to close to 500.
The French interior ministry said 11 people suspected of ‘malicious actions’ had been arrested since Friday as television footage showed scenes of chaos on the islands, with streets under water, boats and cars tossed into piles and torn rooftops.
Emergency aid: Humanitarian freight is loaded in French Guyana ahead of being sent to French overseas territories
Several people still stranded on St Martin (pictured) said looters had begun raiding hotel rooms and homes to profit from the natural disaster
A man walks past debris caused by Hurricane Irma in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas on the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are widespread reports of looting throughout Caribbean islands hit by the hurricane
Jos Smart, 26, and his girlfriend Julia Taylor, 30, were forced to hide in a smashed up hotel room with rats flooding in looking for food
Massimiliano Napoliello, the manager of a bar in Maho Beach, issued a desperate plea for help on Facebook.
‘The situation in SXM is a HELL! NO WATER NO FOOD NO ELECTRICITY NO COMMUNICATION!!
‘They are completely isolated and there are CRIMINALS carrying GUNS AND KNIVES SHOOTING and looting all over!! NOTHING IS WORKING, THERE ARE NO RULES, THERE IS NO LAW AND NO PROTECTION RIGHT NOW!!’ he said.
At the Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, looters went in to unoccupied rooms to steal TVs, one staff member said on Twitter.
‘A small minority of sxm-er’s were looting our unoccupied rooms until the Dutch military arrived. Not essentials – taking TV’s,’ he said.
The same man said a bank was robbed the next day.
Laura Conroy’s family were stranded on the island and are now awaiting rescue from US military planes.
There were terrifying reports of looting and violence coming out of St Maarten on Friday in the wake of Hurricane Irma
Massimiliano Napoliello, the general manager of Sky Beach, a bar in Maho Beach, shared this desperate plea on Friday
There were snaking queues at the airport as people desperately waited to be taken off the island
They are taking American citizens to the more developed Puerto Rico.
She said that through the intermittent contact she has had with her sister, she learned that looting was a problem. ‘Many US citizens are being attacked and robbed,’ she told DailyMail.com.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned the situation was already ‘serious’ and made worse by communication problems after 185mph Irma laid waste to infrastructure.
Witnesses on the Dutch side of the island say people are roaming the streets armed with ‘revolvers and machetes’ while Rutte said most people are surviving without power and running water.
Extra troops and police are arriving on the southern part of the island, which is shared between France and the Netherlands, and part of their job is to help keep order, officials said.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned the situation was already ‘serious’ and made worse by communication problems after 185mph Irma laid waste to infrastructure. A Dutch soldier keeps watch on the island
Witnesses on the Dutch side of the island say people are roaming the streets armed with ‘revolvers and machetes’ while Rutte said most people are surviving without power and running water. A Dutch Royal Navy officer speaks to a driver at a check point on the island
Up to 95 per cent of the island was destroyed as the hurricane pummeled its shores on Wednesday
Up to 95 per cent of the island was destroyed as the hurricane pummeled its shores on Wednesday.
The badly damaged airport and port have now ‘been opened for military purposes,’ Rutte told reporters, adding ‘we are doing everything possible to get aid to the area.’
He said food, water and security were the priorities on the island, known in Dutch as Sint Maarten.
‘We will not abandon Sint Maarten,’ he said, adding that officials were also sending medicines, tents, tarpaulins and hygiene kits as fast as possible to the Caribbean.
‘The military has two tasks after arriving there. Firstly to ensure that there is food and water, but also to ensure security,’ Rutte said.
Extra troops and police are arriving on the southern part of the island, which is shared between France and the Netherlands, and part of their job is to help keep order, officials said
This was the scene at the island’s world famous international airport after the hurricane had lashed it with ferocious winds
‘There are people on the streets armed with revolvers and machetes,’ one witness told the Dutch newspaper AD on Friday. ‘The situation is very serious. No one is in charge.’
Dutch officials have confirmed that one person was killed on the Dutch part of Saint Martin by the Category Five storm, before it was downgraded early Friday to a four as it barrelled towards Cuba and Florida.
At least 10 people were killed on Cuba, most of them crushed by collapsing buildings, bringing the death toll to 38 in the Caribbean.
St Martin, which shares an island with the French territory of St. Martin, has been autonomous since 2010, but remains part of the Dutch commonwealth.
Dramatic aerial pictures show scenes of devastation on a Caribbean island after it was ravaged by the most powerful hurricane the Atlantic has ever seen. At a port area, shipping containers were strewn like children’s building blocks (pictured)
Astonishing images show the scale of the destruction on the island of St. Maarten in the aftermath of a direct hit by Category 5 Hurricane Irma
Massive waves continued to crash into the coastline of the Dutch side of St Martin last night in the aftermath of the storm
Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that most people are surviving on the island without the basic necessities of life.
Power, running water and most communications were knocked out by the powerful storm and looting has been reported by local authorities struggling to keep control of the island.
He said the first plane already has landed at the airport in the capital, Philipsburg, and navy vessels have unloaded vital supplies in a race against time before the next storm arrives.
‘We slept with knives under our beds’: British tourist tells of five terrifying days living in fear of armed looters on lawless St Martin – after there were no Delta check-in staff to print his boarding pass
A British tourist who spent nearly a week trapped on a lawless Caribbean island struck by Hurricane Irma has revealed he kept a kitchen knife under his bed to protect against looters.
James Tuffin, 32, was left stranded on St Martin after he was unable to check-in for his flight last Monday because no one from Delta Airlines was available to print his boarding pass.
The public relations professional spent a desperate five days hiding in a hotel room with no running water or electricity and armed men on the loose outside, before eventually boarding a US Army flight which took him to safety.
James Tuffin,(left) spent a desperate five days hiding in a hotel room(right) with no running water or electricity and armed men on the loose outside
Mr Tuffin, who was on holiday with a friend, said he and his family made numerous calls to the UK Foreign Office for advice, but he was given limited information and no offer of evacuation.
And he warned there were tourists from Britain and other countries still trapped on St Martin and in dire need of help after the storm struck on Wednesday.
He told MailOnline: ‘The days after the storm were terrible. There was no running water or electricity, the toilets would not flush and food supplies were depleting.
‘At nightfall, we would sit in the hotel room in darkness and slept with kitchen knives under our beds because we were so scared someone would break in.
‘One day, our neighbours above us came down because she had seen a man with a gun who had come to her apartment to steal food.
‘She told us to lock ourselves in the room because he was running around outside.
Mr Tuffin, who was on holiday with a friend, said he and his family made numerous calls to the UK Foreign Office for advice, but he was given limited information and no offer of evacuation. He took photos of the devastation, pictured
And Mr Tuffin he warned there were tourists from Britain and other countries still trapped on St Martin and in dire need of help after the storm struck on Wednesday
‘On the same day, a Dutch man, also in the hotel, heard there was a man running around with the machete. People were looting – it was terrifying.’
Mr Tuffin, originally from London, arrived at St Martin by boat on September 4 hoping to catch a flight back to New York, where he lives.
He had been on holiday for five days on nearby Anguilla.
But after entering the Princess Juliana International Airport he was unable to find any Delta Airlines staff to check him in because they had already left to process the other people had the gate.
‘By the time we got to the airport on St Martin we only had ten minutes before check-in was closing, as our boat had been delayed because of the weather,’ he said.
‘The check-in machines weren’t working and I could not use the app. When I got to the Delta desk no one was there, everyone had left already.
Mr Tuffin, originally from London, arrived at St Martin by boat on September 4 hoping to catch a flight back to New York, where he lives
But after entering the Princess Juliana International Airport he was unable to find any Delta Airlines staff to check him in because they had already left to process the other people had the gate
‘I was starting to panic, I went to all the other airlines and they said the Delta staff had already left. So we missed the flight, because there was no one available.’
Realising he was unable to leave, Mr Tuffin and his 27-year-old friend Michael found a room at nearby Simpson’s Bay Resort, where they spent the next two nights.
On Wednesday, the pair attended a briefing at the hotel, where the guests were told to gather food and water in preparation for a category five hurricane that was on its way.
After filling pots and pans with water and bringing in provisions from the supermarket, they settled down for the night, before being woken up at 3am by the sound of the storm.
‘By 5am it was really bad,’ Mr Tuffin said. ‘We went inside the bathroom and padded it out with some of the sofa seat cushions and just waited.
‘There was a constant howling noise and the sound of things getting ripped apart.
On Wednesday, the pair attended a briefing at the hotel, where the guests were told to gather food and water in preparation for a category five hurricane that was on its way. The impact of the storm is shown in these photos, taken my Mr Tuffin
On Friday Mr Tuffin saw a Dutch military plane landing at the airport, but he was told by hotel staff these were for women and children only. Pictured: General views of the devastation on St Martin
‘By the morning we looked out and the devastation was horrendous. Every car was upside down, with their windows smashed out, and houses had lost their roofs.
‘But the worst part was that we could not contact the outside world.
‘There were a couple of bars of mobile signal in one part of the resort, which I used to phone my family, but it was hard to get through to anyone else.’
On Friday Mr Tuffin saw a Dutch military plane landing at the airport, but he was told by hotel staff these were for women and children only.
After another terrifying night, he woke up to on Saturday morning to a knock at the door and a worker telling him the US Army was ferrying Americans from the airport.
Thinking that his American visa would get him on board, he went to queue up only to be told by a Marine that they would not be able to take him.
But after waiting until all the Americans had got on board, one of the soldiers said the remaining tourists – seven Britons, a German couple and two French people – would be allowed to join the flight.
Despite the desperate situation they found themselves in, Mr Tuffin said the staff at the hotel and some six hundred guests joined together to share provisions and protect each other
But he slammed the British authorities for not doing enough to help, and he stressed there were still tourists trapped on the island who needed urgent aid
He said: ‘The hotel did a good job with helping people, including housing other people who were made homeless and everyone shared what they had’
‘That was one of the most heart-wrenching feelings ever,’ Mr Tuffin said.
‘But we persevered and eventually when all the Americans had been taken onboard the soldiers said we could join to.
‘So, thank God, the American Army saved the day, and we flew in a Hercules to San Juan, on Saturday. And there we got a hotel and yesterday I left to New York.’
Despite the desperate situation they found themselves in, Mr Tuffin said the staff at the hotel and some six hundred guests joined together to share provisions and protect each other.
But he slammed the British authorities for not doing enough to help, and he stressed there were still tourists trapped on the island who needed urgent aid.
On Saturday, Mr Tuffin was eventually able to board a US Army plane that was leaving for Puerto Rico
He said: ‘Thank God, the American Army saved the day, and we flew in a Hercules to San Juan, on Saturday. And there we got a hotel and yesterday I left to New York’
He added: ‘It was an absolutely terrifying five days, and the situation is still so bad there with people still in desperate need of help.’ Pictured: The scene on board the Hercules
He added: ‘It was an absolutely terrifying five days, and the situation is still so bad there with people still in desperate need of help.
‘The hotel did a good job with helping people, including housing other people who were made homeless and everyone shared what they had.
‘We did not get any information from the British government and just felt completely trapped.
‘I got through to them and heard that they had my details and I should wait for information and to wait for the local authorities.
‘But there were no local authorities – there was no information from anyone. There must be Britons still there. I just don’t know what the UK is doing.’
MailOnline has contacted Delta Airlines and the UK Foreign Office for comment.