A GOUROCK woman is facing a desperate wait to rescue her mum who has been left homeless and lost everything she owned due to Hurricane Michael.

US born Barbara Van Pay told the Tele that a week after it hit she is still unable to reach her 75-year-old mum Judy, who was caught up in the devastation

Barbara told the Tele how she stayed on the phone, thousands of miles away from Panama City Beach, trying to comfort her mum as the hurricane hurtled towards land at 155 mph.

When the line went dead she then faced an agonising two day wait to find out if Judy was still alive.

The relief that she was then quickly turned to horror as she learned her mum has been left with no house, no car and no job.

Now she has been overwhelmed with support locally as her friends and family in Inverclyde step in to help her raise thousands of pounds to help her mum rebuild her life.

Barbara, 53, said: "My mum has lost absolutely everything.

"There is no house left and there is no job because the supermarket where she works is flattened.

"It is all gone.

"There is nothing left of Panama City Beach and it will take years to rebuild it.

"It was the worst hurricane to hit in a 100 years.

"My mum didn't evacuate because she looks after my brother who has a serious mental health illness and he didn't want to leave.

"She is his full-time carer so she stayed with him.

Barbara was thousands of miles away in Ashton Road when she was cut off as Hurricane Michael hit her mum's town.

The human resources consultant, who lives here with her husband Tony Smith, added: "I was on the phone to her.

"She was so scared, there was water coming in the house and this was even before the storm hit.

"I told her to get to the bathroom and to take everything she needed in there - food, drink.

"I said 'whatever you do don't open the front door because the water will sweep you away'.

"I talked to her right up until the phone went dead and we were cut off.

"Then I went into shock - I never heard anything for two days."

Barbara faced a desperate time trying to get any information she could after the hurricane hit on October 10

She added: "Eventually my mum managed to get a message to me to tell me she was alive and in a shelter.

"When I spoke to her she asked if I was okay!

"She managed to get out, I have no idea how, and saved her dog Sunshine."

Now though, as looting and lawlessness continues and the National Guard moves in, Barbara is desperate to get over to the States.

She added: "It is such a dangerous place to be right now but we can't get anywhere near it.

"The roads are filled with people trying to get in to salvage what they can, and people in the city trying to leave."

Barbara is now facing a race against time to raise enough money to help her mum start from scratch.

Together with businessman Tony, 56 they are trying to sell what they can.

Barbara explained: "It is a natural disaster so my mum won't get anything.

"We will sell the car, but we don't own our house.

"It still won't be enough."

Barbara and Tony have been married for 10 years and previously lived in London.

They moved back to Tony's home town earlier this year to care for his father, who is very ill.

Now family and friends in Inverclyde have offered to fundraise for Judy and launched an appeal.

Grateful Barbara added: "My friends here have been so kind.

"People are so generous and have offered to do everything they can.

"In America, you have to work to keep your health insurance.

"My mum is not rich.

"She's never missed a day's work in her life.

"She lost my dad when she was only 32 and brought me and my brother up on her own.

"She worked extra hours to get me things like my school prom dress.

"Now she will have to start all over again at 75."

If anyone would like to support Barbara and her husband Tony's appeal for Judy then visit www.gofundme.com/judy-vp-hurricane-michael-recovery