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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 October 2005, 20:07 GMT 21:07 UK
Nervous wait over Wilma Britons
Cancun
Hurricane Wilma has torn down trees and road signs in Cancun
Britons are facing an anxious wait for news of loved ones on holiday in Mexico as Hurricane Wilma lashes the country's Caribbean coast.

Paula Buss, from Cheshunt, Herts, whose son Daniel, 23, has not been in contact from Cancun for two days, said the lack of information was "just frightening".

Some holidaymakers have described sleeping in shelters with 30 people to a room, with little to eat or drink.

Mexican authorities ordered tourists to take cover before the storm hit.

Thousands of Britons are holidaying in the area, which has been hit by winds of up to 150mph and torrential rain.

Hurricane Wilma was expected to linger over Mexico's Yucatan peninsula for most of the weekend, according to the country's National Meteorological System.

Mrs Buss, who described herself as "one very worried mum", last heard from her son before the hurricane hit Cancun.

HAVE YOUR SAY
The heavy steel shutters are secured and generators are in place
Patrick Sheehy, Homestead, Florida

"The last thing we heard, he was being shipped out of his hotel to a school. He was told to take his passport and go," she said.

Daniel, a commissioning engineer for a fire alarm company, has been in Cancun along with five of his friends for two weeks. They are due to fly back on Monday.

"We obviously don't know whether the airports will be open by Monday. There is no communication, no information coming out of Cancun.

"It's just so frightening when you don't have any information."

Chrissy Woodward, from Douglas on the Isle of Man, says she also has not heard from her parents and two sisters for 48 hours.

She said the company who arranged their holiday to Cancun cannot tell her where they have been moved to, adding "all we want to know is are they safe".

'No food'

Meanwhile, British tourists Rachel and Carl Farricker, from Altham in Lancashire, told friends how they were forced to move from their shelter after its roof was torn off.

In a text message, Mrs Farricker, 39, wrote: "Evacuated by bus to tiny school room. No blankets or pillows or food or electricity, just water.

There were some local lads selling 'I survived Hurricane Wilma' T-shirts when we got here
Rachel Farricker
British tourist

"Roads flooded bad, hit a power line. Trees everywhere, huge gale blowing, must be close but no information or reps here."

Emma Francis, from Burnley in Lancashire, has also been evacuated from her hotel in Cancun to the regional capital, Merida.

She said around 800 people had been sleeping 30 to a room for two nights in the city's Medical University.

She said: "Everyone is being very patient but it's really starting to get to people now.

"We have no towels to wash and no showers to wash in. No-one has a change of clothes."

British embassy staff have been deployed to the region to assist stranded tourists and a consular rapid deployment team from London is on stand-by.

The Foreign Office is advising British travellers in Mexico to follow the advice of local authorities.

The Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said there were about 8,500 Britons in the Yucatan peninsula.

An Abta spokesman said: "As far as I know, everyone has been moved into hurricane shelters or further inland."

Cancun is built along a narrow spit of white sand and has been battered by three-storey high surges of sea water.

Mexico: Tourists told to leave high-risk coastal resorts
Cuba: Coastal residents evacuated and some schools closed
US: Visitors and non-residents ordered to leave Florida Keys
Times: All times CDT (GMT -5)




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