Disabled mum Jenny Marie Hill and partner Anthony Broadbent traveled to Varadero for a birthday celebration in paradise.
But the couple’s dreams have been thoroughly dashed by Hurricane Irma.
Instead of celebrating her 33rd birthday, Jenny is desperately trying to get out of Cuba before the category 4 storm hits.
The pair – from Backup, Lancashire – booked their holiday with Thomas Cook, but they claim the travel provider has ‘abandoned’ them.
Jenny, who has an artificial leg, suffers with lupus and only has enough medication with her for one extra day.
Hurricane Irma: A British couple claim they have been ‘abandoned’ in Cuba by Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook won’t fly passengers out until tomorrow evening
The couple have have been trying to fly out at the earliest opportunity but they say Thomas Cook won’t fly passengers out until tomorrow evening.
The travel provider told the pair they would be safe in their hotel when the hurricane strikes.
Jenny’s sister, Janine Hall, has been frantically trying to help from here in the UK.
She told MEN: “She has alerted the resort and there’s a doctor on site but the doctor has said he cannot get the medication and she needs to get a taxi into town.
“There’s no taxis going to town. If she runs out of meds the blood cells attack each other. She would have no immunity and the organs would shut down.”
Hurricane Irma: Jenny and Anthony went to Cuba to celebrate Jenny’s 33rd birthday
Janine said former Disability England swimmer Jenny has been crying to her on WhatsApp, telling her family she loves them.
She added: “It’s like the Titanic – all the staff have left her. She was due to fly this evening Cuba time but they are saying it will hit Cuba on Friday night or Saturday morning.
“They’ve just abandoned them. The only advice they’ve been given is fill up the bath and sink because it will take out the water supply so you will be able to flush the toilet.
“She is struggling at the minute and panicking. It’s very stressful.”
Hurricane Irma: The couple said their hotel has been sandbagged and barricaded
Janine contacted Thomas Cook to ask why the couple were still at their hotel, the Bella Vista, when it had been evacuated.
She said: “There’s about 10 people left and they are all with Thomas Cook. The majority of staff are packing up and leaving so they’re not leaving for nothing.
“They’ve put paper on the windows and there’s been sandbags everywhere.
“She said they were going to move everybody to the middle of the island but all they’ve done is moved room.”
Thomas Cook said 1,738 of its 4,000 customers in Cuba had been moved as a precaution.
A spokesperson said: “We are sending two planes into Varadero tomorrow – that’s a delay of 24 hours because of the Hurricane – so these customers will be flying out tomorrow evening.
Hurricane Irma is heading towards Cuba after smashing through islands in the Caribbean
“Our special assistance team in the resort are aware of Ms Hill’s situation and medical requirements. If necessary we will be doing everything possible to make sure she has the required medication from local medical facilities.
“All of our customers in the region are in hotels which have been built to withstand a hurricane.
This is the safest place for them to remain as the hurricane passes through the region. We are sending an additional 16 Special Assistance Team members to Varadero, and we continue to work with the local authorities to make sure all of our customers are as comfortable and well-informed as possible.
“Canada airlines are in very different situation, where they are able to send in short haul planes which can make quick turnarounds to return for the three hour flight. We travel across the Atlantic on long haul planes with legal limits to crew flying hours.”