Local couple on honeymoon in Dominican Republic caught up in Hurricane Irma

Local couple on honeymoon in Dominican Republic caught up in Hurricane Irma”

Hurricane Irma continues to move northwest after leaving a trail of destruction across the Caribbean. The Category 5 storm is expected to cause catastrophic damage in some areas, and has prompted the Canadian government to issue several advisories warning against travel to areas in its path.

Her business trip to the Dominican Republic cut short by the storm, Trudi Charest is one of thousands of foreign travellers waiting for her flight home — a scene repeated at many airports caught in Irma's path.

Air Transat says 10 aircraft were sent to the Dominican Republic to load passengers Wednesday morning.

Punta Cana, the resort district of Higüey municipality, sits on the far eastern tip of the island the Dominican Republic shares with neighbouring Haiti. Air Canada is waiving the cost of changing flights in order to accommodate these passengers.

The newlyweds told 12 News there was a lot of wind and rain, but reported no major damage around them.

"However, we have solid plans and we will all be sheltered for the duration of the storm", she said.

At least two people died and two others were seriously injured in the islands of St. Barts and St. Martin, French Overseas Affairs Minister Annick Girardin said. Additionally, a flight scheduled to go to Puerto Plata on Friday was cancelled.

The UN said Hurricane Irma has become "the most risky natural phenomenon" in the region this year, stating that its impact may likely surpass Hurricane Matthew, which was a category 4 hurricane on a five-point scale and affected 3.2 million people last October - of whom 1.3 million were children.

Air Canada has not put out an official statement.

"Air Canada is reviewing capacity requirements and working with Air Canada Vacations to ensure we have sufficient capacity to bring our customers home safely", the airline said.

Local authorities said communication networks in numerous affected areas have been affected either totally or partially. "We think that's very irresponsible on their part, and that's why we're frustrated".

A local couple holidaying in the Caribbean say they are in lock-down since Wednesday evening.

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