This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.
A young couple from Derby have “lost everything” after the brutality of Hurricane Irma completely destroyed their new home in the Virgin Islands – just DAYS after they got married.
Michael and Jade Scott are currently stuck in the torn-apart Caribbean islands trying to get back into the UK after they were forced to flee their rented property in Virgin Gorda as the deadly hurricane battered the island last week.
The severity of the hurricane, which has killed almost 30 people on the islands, has meant they have lost their home, their livelihoods and many of their personal belongings. But luckily they are still alive and are planning to return to Derby as soon as they can get a flight back.
Incredibly, the loved-up couple were forced to evacuate within HOURS of landing back to the island last Tuesday after they tied the knot in Derby on the previous Friday, ending a six-week summer break back home. Michael and Jade are from Allestree and Littleover respectively.
Michael and Jade moved to Virgin Gorda in December after Michael, 24, accepted a job as an engineer in the luxurious island. Jade, 23, then also found a job over there as a reservations associate meaning both of them could start a new life together abroad.
And the pair, who have known each other for seven years, recently came back to Derby for the first time since making their life-changing move so they could get married in front of their families at St Mary’s Church.
The hurricane battered several of the Caribbean islands and has moved its way to Florida in the USA where millions of people have been left without power and fearing for their safety.
Jade’s mum Jan Harrison-Ashley, who is from Littleover , said she feared for the lives of her daughter and her new son-in-law when the hurricane first struck and was left crying when she could not get hold of them for more than two days.
Speaking to the Derby Telegraph she said: “Jade sent me a video last Wednesday showing the high winds and rain and I told her to keep sending me updates so I knew they were safe but that was the last I heard from them in two days.
“I can’t tell you how worried I was - I’ve never cried so much before in my life. I was pulling my hair out of frustration that I couldn’t find anything out.
“I got word on the Friday someone in the island was going around with satellite phones and I kept my fingers crossed we’d hear something. And then we had a message from them to say that they were coming home.
“They have lost everything. The hurricane has come and it’s taken where they live, where they work – it’s taken the whole island. Their evacuation was so quick so they had to leave a lot of their belongings behind including their car, clothes and furnishings.”
Mrs Harrison-Ashley said the couple were fearful they had lost most of their money as the bank in which they invested their savings was also flattened.
They are due to return back into the UK soon but it is not clear when exactly they will come back.
Jade’s mum added: “They were evacuated just hours after returning home. I’m quite angry at the moment because I don’t know why they were allowed to be flown back given the conditions. The pair knew there was a hurricane but didn’t know how severe it was going to be.
“We don’t know when they are due back in Derby because lots of people are trying to get flights but hopefully it will be soon.
“They are staying at a hotel in Puerto Rico until they can get a flight but they are safe and that’s the main thing.
“They do feel very lucky to be alive and that they can come home and start again.”
Mrs Harrison Ashley said it was vital the Virgin Islands gets all the help it needs to recover from the natural disaster.
“It’s going to take a long time to rebuild the island.
“Everyone thinks the Virgin Islands are the playground of the rich and famous and it's for the super-rich. But the people who live there are not like that. They are down-to-earth people who have now got nothing.
“The island needs help – without it I don’t know what is going to happen. Jade has so many friends there. The businesses have gone too. It’s the worst hurricane the area has ever seen.”