Flattened buildings, debris, a lack of water, fuel and food: after the storm wreaked havoc on the islands, Ed Pilkington asks survivors why they stayed put

Even before you reach Marathon, the signs aren’t good. As you drive down US 1, flanked on either side by a paradoxically mirror-glass sea, strange objects start to appear on the side of the road, an array of Irma’s playthings.

There’s a gas station that’s been entirely flattened, fridges, garden sheds, canoes and a jet ski, all skewed at odd angles.

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