Couple trapped in rat infested room on lawless island wrecked by Irma have been ‘abandoned by the British Government’

A British couple have been hiding in a rat infested bathroom with no water for five days as the Caribbean island they were living on descends into lawlessness in the wake of Hurricane Irma, their family have said. 

Jos Smart, 26, and his girlfriend Julia Taylor, 30, say they have been abandoned by the British Government and are too afraid to leave the half destroyed hotel that they found refuge in amid reports of looting and violence. 

The Category  5 storm hit the island on Wednesday and it has since been placed under curfew to try and restore order. 

British Troops and police officers have been sent to help the British Virgin Islands (BVI), but families of those on St Maarten, which is Dutch and shares the island with the French St Martin to the north, say that because it is not a British territory their loved ones have been abandoned.

The yacht the couple were looking after was destroyed by Hurricane Irma 

Jos and Julia have not received any support from the Foreign Office, their family say, and officials could not even tell Julia where to go for help when she contacted them on Saturday. 

Ian Smart, Jos’ father, said that they were too scared to leave the room as the “lawlessness is getting worse”. 

“They have not had any water for a day, they have got a bit of juice, but they are trying to keep under the radar,” he said. 

Jos, who is originally from Cumbria, and Julia, from Haslemere, Surrey, have been working on a super yacht in the area for a number of years and he had just completed is Ocean Yachtmasters course.

The 79ft boat they had been living on now lies destroyed in the harbour. 

Mr Smart, an architect, said: “During Irma they said that 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. 

“They are in a bit of a state. There have been rats in their room looking for food. At night time there were people knocking on their door, and so there are 12 hours of sheer blackness to get through with the terror of who is going to knock down the door. “

Hurricane Irma batters the Caribbean, in pictures

The family have contacted the FCO and their local MP Rory Stewart, who is also a foreign office minister, but say that it is a one way conversation with them informing officials of the couple’s situation but not being given any information or help in return. 

Jos’ sister Ayla said: ” The British consulate and foreign office have given no advice…

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