Canadians rescued from Irma-hit Caribbean countries

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Bibeau said officials are now on the ground there assessing how Canada might help with humanitarian aid and rebuilding.

In addition the Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT) deployed to the region on Monday to provide an assessment on how Canada can best support the hurricane-ravaged region, he said.

In the meantime, he says, the Canadians returned to their hotels.

"Only Americans and Dutch (were) leaving", she said.

When Murphy emerged from the cupboard, she said, the roof and walls were gone.

WestJet Airlines (TSX:WJA) operated 22 rescue flights: 18 before the hurricane to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and Florida and four after the storm to St. Maarten and the Turks and Caicos.

Many expressed relief to be back in Canada, while also offering their sympathies to those who live on the islands affected by the storm.

"I would like to offer my honest thanks to Canadian airlines who have provided relief efforts, including working with the Red Cross, transporting food, water and other supplies and offering sits to Canadian passengers", Garneau said.

Officials said they had received requests for assistance from 368 Canadians, though they acknowledged there may have been others who hadn't yet been able to get in contact with Global Affairs.

Passenger Andrew Trozzi said the ordeal was frustrating, but nowhere near as hard for him as it was for the locals.

Naail Falah, who was there to put the "finishing touches" on a home he recently purchased in Turks and Caicos.

"I thought, I'm going to die, so if the phone is working I need to talk to someone before that happens", Murphy told CBC News. "It was a very painful situation".

"From the beginning, the airlines have been available; the problem has been the availability of the airstrips, or permission to leave", Garneau said.

There was concern that hurricane Jose could hit the island Saturday night, but the Netherlands said the island was spared further damage because the storm passed farther from shore than expected.

"A lot of work remains to be done but the majority of Canadians most affected have now come home and that is a huge relief for me", Freeland said.

One of the big mysteries over the weekend was why an Air Canada passenger plane that had arrived in Turks and Caicos several days ago wasn't allowed to leave with evacuees.

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