Oswestry honeymoon couple speak of their terrifying ordeal facing Hurricane Irma

Reporter:

Georgia Macey

A couple from Oswestry have spoken out about their terrifying ordeal with Hurricane Irma while on their honeymoon.

Julian and Russ Raymond-Sandy were in Cuba when the hurricane struck last Thursday.

They asked travel firm Thomas Cook to be evacuated four days before the hurricane was due to hit but they told them to stay put as it was the safer option.

Russ said: “We were told on Thursday afternoon by hotel staff that the bar and restaurant would close at 8pm and all English speaking TV was disconnected that morning.

“We were put into lockdown at 8pm Thursday evening when food parcels and water were delivered and we faced the hurricane in our rooms.

“It was terrifying, walls and ceilings were shaking and rain was lashing down virtually horizontally.”

Julian and Russ enoying their holiday before the hurricane struck

The couple have been in contact with a hurricane centre and had been helping local people by buying supplies and giving them away before the storm hit.

Julian added: “We will be fundraising when we get back to help people re-build their lives. I have requested Rotary Clubs to send shelter boxes to the islands – apparently 2,000 have gone out so far but we need more.”

The couple explained how they wanted a procedure from Thomas Cook to prepare themselves but hadn’t been given much information.

Russ said: “We have been extremely lucky, there’s no real damage here. The beach is ruined but the hotel is back to normal. We finally had water to wash in this morning but the beach will take a long while to get back to normal.

“There was a note in the lobby to attend a “hurricane update” meeting yesterday at 11am. All guests were there from 10am. I asked the rep when he arrived what was happening at the meeting, he said that there wasn’t a meeting just to make sure everyone was ok.”

Holiday makers were moved to Varadero to stay in hotels  built specially to withstand hurricanes.

The latest travel advice from Thomas Cook states: “A damage assessment is currently underway in Varadero and Havana, Cuba with airports expected to re-open on Tuesday, September 12.

“We continue to work on our evacuation programme for Varadero. The first evacuation flight to Cuba is in the air, and we expect to bring home all customers in Varadero by Thursday, September 14.”

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