In an apocalyptic landscape of blacked-out towns, shuttered petrol stations and endless destruction, British Virgin islanders are attempting to rebuild their lives
© James Breeden
Destruction of Road Town, Tortola
As night falls on the British ­Virgin Islands, thousands left homeless by deadly Hurricane Irma bed down for another night in the damp, dark and disarray.

Still being hit by deluge after deluge of rain, by 6.30pm they are forced to live by flickering candlelight as most are still without power.

The few who manage to sleep will be back in a living nightmare when they awake. In the sweltering daylight, they will again see the devastation Irma left during a 15-hour direct hit on this British territory on September 7.

© James Breeden
Mirror man Chris Bucktin in battered Road Town
The islands are now a landscape of blacked-out towns, shuttered petrol stations and flooded streets.

Every leaf was ripped from every tree as the 185mph winds barrelled through.


And as if the loss of five lives and the des­­truction of thousands of homes were not enough, dozens of ­prisoners remain on the loose, sprung from the jail amid the chaos of the storm and now 4ft-deep flash flooding.

© James Breeden
A destroyed factory in Tortola
In this apocalyptic landscape, islanders must rebuild their lives.

Expat Chloe Adams tells how she and her Australian boyfriend James Gibson huddled together in their bathroom during the hurricane.

The waitress, 23, who comes from Millbrook, Cornwall, says: "We feared for our lives. The roof of our building was blown clean off and all we could do was seek shelter in our bathroom.

© Reuters
Palm trees are uprooted as Hurricane Irma hits
"We didn't know if we would live or die. It's a miracle we survived."

The devastation has left both Chloe and James without a job, forcing them to leave the island for good.

Another Brit, veterinary technician Lisa Charman, has not been back to her home since Irma and has been staying with a friend.
© James Breeden
An aerial view shows the extent of the destruction
Lisa, 30, says: "I dread to imagine the damage to my home. It has been a living nightmare since Irma struck."

Lisa, of Ramsgate, Kent, is caring for more than 600 animals as their owners try to rebuild their properties.

As well as expats, locals too spoke of struggle to survive Irma. Dad-of-three Lyndon Carmichael, 59, whose family home was destroyed, says: "I was praying to almighty God we would be saved."
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Marines are helping with the clean-up operation and are rounding up lags
He is now living with his son in a one-bed house that now accommodates 15 of the family.

The Government could face a bill of £100million to help British territories hit by Irma, and the money will have to come from the Treasury as the area is too wealthy to qualify for help from the International Aid budget.
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A soldier wades through the flooded streets of Road Town
Another £25million was announced this week on top of £32million already promised.

On a visit to the Caribbean, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: "This place has been through an absolutely hellish experience. There is no doubt at all that you need help."
© James Breeden
This boat was blown ashore
More than 1,000 troops have been deployed across the BVI, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands, helping distribute more than 40 tonnes of aid, including shelters for 13,000 people.

HMS Ocean is now on her way from Gibraltar with 5,000 hygiene kits. The task of rebuilding lives on BVI has got under way under the leadership of 40 Commando Royal Marines.
© James Breeden
Soldiers have worked tirelessly to restore power
The soldiers have worked tirelessly to restore power, clear roads and help rebuild essential services.

Capt Dan Lauder said: "I am proud of how our Marines have performed under the most strenuous of circumstances. It is heartbreaking to see the devastation Irma has caused."