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UK troops help ‘fix’ home wrecked by Irma

Dorothy and Alvin Nibbs were left without anywhere to live after the storm destroyed their property in Tortola.

A couple who lost their home when Hurricane Irma ravaged the British Virgin Islands have been helped by UK troops to try and rebuild their house.

Dorothy Nibbs, 59, and her husband Alvin, 73, were left without anywhere to live after the storm destroyed their property in Road Town, Tortola.

She said the Royal Marines and Royal Engineers began to try to help them salvage what is left of their home, turning up on Saturday with a UK aid shelter kit – containing rope and a tarpaulin.

Alvin Nibbs outside his house in Road Town, Tortola (Ministry of Defence/PA)

“The governor came to me and said he was sending them over to fix my house and in around 15 minutes 11 soldiers were there,” she told the Press Association.

“I was the happiest person on earth, I was very sad because I lost everything, so when I saw they came up to fix my house I was so happy about it.”

She said when the soldiers turned up they told her theirs was the first house they have actually worked on, as previously they have only provided the equipment for people to do it themselves.

Marine Jordan Harding of 40 Commando Royal Marines helping to fix up Alvin and Dorothy Nibbs' house in Road Town, Tortola (Ministry of Defence/PA)

Ms Nibbs said she wanted to hug and kiss the troops, adding: “If I could cook them good Caribbean food I would, but my stove is full of water. They are nice men, I love them.

“They did a good job by putting on the tauplin and talking to me and cheering me up at the same time, they are very good men. I respect them.”

Mrs Nibbs said the work which has been carried out so far has been “excellent”, leaving her “very, very happy”.

Alvin and Dorothy Nibbs with their 11-week-old puppy, Lilly, in Road Town, Tortola (Ministry of Defence/PA)

In the aftermath of Irma all that was left of their home was a couple of walls, with little trace of their life before the hurricane hit visible.

Mrs Nibbs was visited by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during a two-day tour of the Caribbean last week as he looked to assess the damage, and told her “not to worry”.

“I took his word for it… I knew he would do something good for me,” she added.

Speaking to the Press Association from the shelter she stayed in overnight until the work is completed, Ms Nibbs said it has been “rough” and that 40 other people slept at the relief centre with her.

She said she is “very worried” about Storm Maria which looks poised to cause havoc in the region from Monday and may strengthen to a category three hurricane.

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