Pemberville woman's family among the thousands trapped in the Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma

PEMBERVILLE, Ohio (13abc Action News) - It's been long days and sleepless nights for Tiffany Leslie of Pemberville.

"It's just been really difficult not being able to communicate with them," said Leslie.

Her mom, step-dad and little sister are trapped on the island of St. John in the Caribbean. The small island of just over 4,000 people is in shambles after being hit hard by Hurricane Irma.

"I was just thinking, 'Are they OK?' 'Are they hurt?' 'Do they need help?' I mean, I was on Facebook constantly," said Leslie. "They have a St. John roll call. I was constantly checking to see if someone had found them safe or if something was wrong."

Leslie says she finally heard from her family on Thursday after going more than 30 hours of hearing nothing.

"Once we finally got a text message saying, 'We're OK,' I just broke out in tears," said Leslie. "It was tears of joy."

Tiffany's family moved to St. John two years ago--chasing a dream of owning a retail shop in the tropical paradise. But that paradise is now a disaster zone as everyone on the island is feeling the effects of Irma.

"They're pleading for help," said Leslie. "Everyone there is pleading for help. So we're just trying to get the word out."

Leslie says her family is without water and power and island officials are saying there's no word on when those services will be restored.

"I know the focus is kinda' on Florida, which it should be, but we don't want our islanders to be forgotten either," said Leslie.

Feeling helpless here in northwest Ohio, Tiffany hopes people in our area can do what they can to assist her family and others left devastated by the destruction.

"Donate if you can," said Leslie. "Keep them in your prayers and hope that they're able to get some help. I mean, that's all they're pleading for is just any kind of help right now."

There is a verified GoFundMe set up to assist those impacted by Hurricane Irma on the island of St. John.

We have a link to that, and other assistance resources, posted in the sidebar of this story.