Harrowing stories of surviving Hurricane Irma in ravaged Caribbean

The storm left many residents with nothing and as they wait for supplies, thousands of Americans are being evacuated by military planes and cruise ships.
7:33 | 09/12/17

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Transcript for Harrowing stories of surviving Hurricane Irma in ravaged Caribbean
I didn't think I was going to survive. Reporter: This is all that is left of the hotel she was staying in at St. Martin. It was her dream birthday vacation. Now what is left will live in her nightmares. It looked like hell. It looked like a war zone. It went from the most beautiful resort ever to chaos. To total destruction. Reporter: The once idyllic islands of the northern caribbean took the brunt of hurricane Irma. Now waste lands of destruction and debris. The category 5 storm killed at least 37 people from barbuda. This is one of the worst days of my life. The entire country has been decimated. Reporter: To St. Martin, to the Virgin Islands. Now there are severe shortages of food, water, and medicine. And adding to the chaos, a second hurricane, Jose, churning over the same area this weekend. Costing authorities precious time, preventing them from getting to the most ravaged areas. Now the harrowing stories of survival are emerging. Flooding is kind of amazing. The rain and wind is bringing it through the sliding doors. Reporter: Along with tales of the frightening aftermatds as the rule of law began to break down. It is going to be rough on the way over. Reporter: We left with the coast guard on a cutter as they rushed to St. Thomas on the U.S. Virgin Islands to bring in needed supplies and evacuate stranded Americans to Puerto Rico. We're coming into St. Thomas and you can see already the evidence of Irma because all of this used to be green, but the leaves are no longer on the trees. Many of the trees are down. Many of the structures here, destroyed. We have water. Wee we have dry food, some clothes for kids in need. And we also are dropping off federal agents to help with law enforcement and try to reopen the airport and the ports in St. Thomas. Reporter: The department of defense says 4600 service members are helping with relief efforts in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. On the island of St. Thomas, the airport, destroyed by wind and rain. Government planes landing anyway. But for everyone else, the only way on and off is by boat. As we made land, all around, utter desolation. Just look what Irma did to this church, completely ripped off the front of it. These were the stairs that was the altar. Reporter: A couple blocks away, reports of looting. People trying to break into this shipping container and steal what's inside. Reporter: It's not a total surprise to see people taking supplies, where most have exit existed for days without running water, food or power and as conditions continue to deteriorate. FEMA has dispatched three emergency medical teams here where the one hospital was destroyed. You're stranded here? Until I can get to Puerto Rico. I've been told there are cruise ships coming in tomorrow taking people to Puerto Rico and from Puerto Rico you're on your own. Reporter: While the lucky ones from another devastating island, St. Martin are evacuated by C-130s. What did it sound like? Like you are in an airplane engine. Reporter: An estimated 5,000 Americans were believed to be trapped on St. Martin in the after aft aftermath of Irma. Michelle and Charlie Pratt were on the Dutch side of the island also at Simpson bay. What was it like? Frightening. We thought we were going to perish together. It blew our doors and windows in. It blew the doors in and the walls were shaking. Reporter: They took these videos of the devastation outside. Soon, people began arriving from other hotels. And quickly, things went from bad to worse. Our generator caught on fire. After they put the fire out, the people stole the generator. Then they started stealing food from our fridge. Then they beat up one tourist. Hit him in the eye. The military came in and yelled for us all to get in. There were bank robbers and they ran into our section with their cars. The military were after them with the machine guns. Reporter: The Pratts and other guests say theyed to go word of evacuations. Waiting in line for hours to make it on to a military plane. 200 others have been evacuated by cruise ship. Adventure of the seas picked up 300 folks in St. Martin. Literally it was like the united nations. Americans, Canadians, Europeans, people from Asia, Latin American. Really, from all over the world. And lots of local people from St. Martin. Reporter: Royal caribbean dispatched four vessels to ravaged island, offering shelter an transporting evacuees to safer ground. Over the past few days have four ships that we have dedicated to humanitarian efforts. We are all from south Florida and we want to try our best because we have these ships and they are empty for various reasons related to the hurricane. How can we give something back and that's what we are trying to do. Reporter: Further along Irma's track, ten people died in hard-hit Cuba where today some neighborhoods were still under water and without power. . Reporter: Cubans waded through the streets of Havana, sometimes in waist-high water. Tomorrow's France's president, Emmanuel macron is expected to travel a St. Martin to survey the damage and offer relief to the french/dutch island. Residents are worried about how they will rebuild. . Reporter: Many people left homeless. Some forced to cook their meals on coals in the middle of the street. The Dutch military transporting some to another Ireland to go to the Netherlands, for the residents they are left with little but their grief. Barbuda, flattened, 90% of its buildings decimated. This is the worst! I tell you, last night was the worst time in my life. And I would not stay in a hurricane like this again. Reporter: Tonight, for those like the Pratts with homes to return to, a profound sense of gratitude. You must feel lucky you got out. It's a miracle. It really is. Reporter: I'm Lindsay Janice in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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