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The damage inflicted by Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean island of St. Martin.

Matt Foley bought duct tape from hotel maintenance staff at Blau Costa Verde beach resort in Holguin, Cuba, in case he needs to tape his windows shut when Hurricane Irma hits.

Mr. Foley, who is from Laval, Que., and his girlfriend started to plan how they will weather the storm after their airline said it had no plans to evacuate the couple before their planned departure on Sunday. He said he feels terrified. "I'm buying all the water bottles and snacks I can find."

With Irma on track to hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba this week before possibly heading for Florida, many Canadians on holiday are trying to return home. Airlines including Air Transat, Air Canada and Sunwing have sent flights to get their travellers out before the storm. Efforts to flee were described as chaotic by Canadian travellers and their family members at home. Power outrages in many areas made communication difficult.

Hurricane Irma: Where it's headed and what you need to know

Mr. Foley's airline, Air Cubana, said it had no plans yet to evacuate, but to check on Thursday morning.

The U.S. offices of many resorts posted updates on emergency measures to Facebook. At Sonesta Maho Beach Resort in St. Martin, where several Canadians were trapped by the hurricane, officials posted that phone lines had been knocked out.

"Guests and staff remain in on-property shelters at this time. Our executive and management team are currently assessing damage as weather conditions permit and verifying next steps for guests to return home," the resort posted online.

Andreik Leveillee of Mascouche, Que., has been trying to get his sister and parents home from the Grand Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana after they became aware of Irma's risks, keeping in touch with them over Facebook.

"We exchanged a couple of messages, saying what's going on, what's happening. Last night, it was starting to get a bit chaotic because people were getting anxious," he said. "They were starting to get scared."

At 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday, he said, Air Transat told his sister Marie-Pier Leveillee she would be evacuated.

"Transat did a really good job on that part, as far as we've been concerned," he said.

His parents, Lorraine Larochelle and Jacques Leveillee, who booked their vacation with Air Canada, heard later in the day that they would be evacuated.

"It was confusing. It was not a fun morning," Mr. Andreik said.

Justin Garrafa of Mississauga said his brother and sister-in-law, who booked their trip with Sunwing, could not leave Punta Cana. "They weren't able to provide any sort of assistance or any early flights," Mr. Garrafa said.

He said he last heard from his brother at noon, a text saying the couple was being moved to a resort inland.

"[He said] they were on a bus and weren't notified what resort they were going to or where they were going, and I haven't heard from him since."

With a report from the Canadian Press

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