Hurricane Irma Caribbean response
Royal Navy ground crew unload disaster supplies from a Wildcat helicopter at Tortola airport in the British Virgin Islands Royal Navy/MoD/Crown Copyright 2017/Reuters

More than 100 prisoners have been recaptured after escaping from a jail on the British Virgin Islands during the chaos wrought by Hurricane Irma. The governor of the islands said the prisoners, who broke free from Tortola's Balsam Ghut prison as the hurricane swept through the Caribbean and south eastern coast of the US, had been rounded up by Thursday 14 September.

It followed an operation by British Virgin Island and Cayman Island police officers, alongside the British Royal Marines and police.

Gus Jaspert, the governor of the British Virgin Islands, said: "The government of the British Virgin Islands is extremely grateful to the police and military personnel for their tireless efforts, which have resulted in a thorough and extremely successful operation.

"I extend our gratitude to the UK and Cayman Island governments for their provision of personnel on the ground here, helping to ensure the safety and security of all British Virgin Islanders. This signals a huge step in all of our efforts to rebuild this fantastic territory."

Trapped British tourists had said they were terrified by looters and reports of rape while they were holed up in resorts sheltering from the natural disaster.

British foreign minister Sir Alan Duncan told the House of Commons earlier this week that the convicts posed a "serious threat of the complete breakdown of law and order".

The British government had been criticised for its slow response to the disaster, which flattened Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos islands as well as the British Virgin Islands.

It emerged this week that the UK territories devastated by storm cannot tap into Britain's £13bn (€14.8bn) foreign aid budget because they are too wealthy, according to rules set out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

However, UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who visited Tortola this week, said that an extra £25m of aid will be given to the territory in addition to £32m already pledged.

Tortola has a population of just under 30,000, making it the largest of the 60-plus islands that form the British Virgin Islands archipelago.