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Branson says Necker Island ‘devastated’; promises help for BVI

Richard Branson on Necker Island in the British virgin Islands. ( Facebook image).

By Nedburn Thaffe – Business tycoon Richard Branson has revealed that his Necker Island home was ‘devastated’ by Hurricane Irma, detailing also his nightmarish experience when the hurricane struck with winds of 110 miles per hour.

“I have never seen anything like this hurricane,” Branson wrote in a blog post.

“Necker and the whole area have been completely and utterly devastated. We are still assessing the damage, but whole houses and trees have disappeared. Outside of the bunker, bathroom and bedroom doors and windows have flown 40 feet away. I’m speaking these words from a satellite phone that is just about working, but all other communications are down.”

The Virgin Atlantic boss said everyone who stayed on Necker and Moskito Islands during the hurricane was safe, adding that they sought refuge under a cellar.

“We took shelter from the strongest hurricane ever inside the concrete cellar on Necker and very, very, fortunately, it held firm. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the disaster elsewhere in the BVI, Caribbean and beyond.

Help Promised

Adding that the BVI will need major help, he said he has already mobilized support for the territory.

“Virgin United has made a donation to the British Red Cross to support the hurricane relief efforts, and we are awaiting more information about how else we can best support.”

“I would urge everyone to donate to the British Red Cross through Virgin Money Giving (who are waiving their fees in support of the appeal) to help local communities. It is good to hear a British naval ship has been deployed with supplies and I would urge the government to send as much help as possible to support the British Virgin Islands,” Branson said.

He added: “We will do whatever we can to support and assist our local community through this extremely testing time. If our really strong buildings sustained such damage, I am so worried for elsewhere in the BVI and Caribbean.”

Branson states further that Virgin Atlantic’s Antigua flight was, on Thursday, loaded with essential items, “including blankets and bottled water to help in the recovery efforts.”

“We’ve helped ensure disaster management relief personnel can get to where they’re most needed,” he said.

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