THE DESPERATE family of a man caught up in the devastation of Hurricane Irma have discovered he is safe and well.

Jamie Heward, 51, who lives on the Caribbean island of St Martin, lost his home in the disaster, but has survived unharmed along with his partner Veronique Thieffry.

The news has come as a huge relief to his family but now they are still seriously concerned about him as he attempts to cope in the terrifying aftermath of the storm.

With the island's infrastructure left in tatters Jamie's sister Julie Collinson, of Addingham says people are struggling to find food and have also had to contend with violent looters and widespread anarchy.

The force of the hurricane has left St Martin almost completely in ruins, and Jamie's family are desperately worried about his welfare. They are hoping he might be able to come home, and they are trying to help him get a passport to replace his old one which is out of date.

Jamie spoke to another sister, Paula Matthews, of Ilkley on Friday, telling her he has shelter in a tiny house close to his destroyed home.

Julie said: "He has a little frozen food and water, and is near the police station as violent looters with weapons are wanting everything available, including food and water. There are water stations set up, but as there was no communication or many had no transport, as it was wrecked, they couldn't find out where to get the supplies. But he said a couple of shops are starting to open up. Everywhere is desolated but the main road in and out is getting cleared.

"It's a horrendous time. The roof fell off at 5am, but he couldn't go out in 200 mile an hour storms, and was frightened for his life. But he's fine though."

After speaking to him on Sunday Julie said he had described the situation as "terrible".

"He's desperate. With no food . He managed to get a tin of corned beef to share with Veronique and two dogs. He is losing weight fast."

Jamie has told his sisters 85 per cent of the island has been destroyed or is severely damaged. Children have been left without food, schools or housing, and there are starving dogs and animals everywhere.

Those desperate to escape have flocked to the airport, where armed soldiers have been keeping order, according to reports.

"Those who are getting a plane out are leaving everything," Julie said. "Only a few kilos of luggage allowance. Flights are very expensive."

She said Paula has contacted the Foreign Office crisis centre and has been told the UK government might be able to fly him out but could not take his long-term partner.

"He couldn't leave her in that case. And the two dogs he loves. And the cost is unthinkable at the moment. Only the rich are getting out."

She described the situation as unbelievable, adding: "I can't ring because calls in and out are charged to him. Then he has to go looking for power for the phone or credit."

Julie Collinson and Paula Matthews searched frantically for information about Jamie in the wake of the hurricane, along with Jamie's brother Carl Heward, of Baildon Moor, half-sister Adele Mosey, of Guiseley and his only son Felix Heward, who lives in France.