Richard Branson has revealed some of the damage that has been done to his luxury island resort Necker Island after hurricane Irma passed through last week, causing devastation.
He has travelled to Puerto Rico where he says he is mobilising aid efforts for the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean.
Richard Branson has revealed the scale of damage done to Necker Island by Hurricane Irma (Picture: Virgin.com)
Writing about his own island, he said: ‘As you can see from the photos, much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged.
‘We felt the full force of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean. But we are very fortunate to have a strong cellar built into Necker’s Great House and were very lucky all of our teams who stayed on Island during the storm are safe and well.’
He also talks about ‘worrying reports’ of civil unrest but great support from the armed forces.
He wrote: ‘I’ve already seen some wonderful acts of human kindness over the last few days. Everyone is coming together to help and support one another.’
Sam Branson, Richard’s son, has flown to Barbados to help bring emergency supplies to the British Virgin Islands via boat.
He has also activated Virgin Unite to help raise funds for local communities in the British Virgin Islands in the long-term.
He also talks about how best to help the islands recover from the hurricane which is continuing to devastate Florida this morning.
Branson said: ‘It is clear to me creating jobs is paramount – there will be a huge amount of rebuilding to be done and people will need work to help rebuild their lives as well as their homes.’
He concluded: ‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support sent to those across the region and to myself. I’ve lived in the BVI for a long time and I know this wonderful part of the world and its amazing people will bounce back stronger than ever. Thank you for your continuing support, it means the world to us.’
The billionaire wrote last week that he and his staff had hunckered down in his wine cellar on Necker Island, hoping to weather the 185mph storm safely.
‘We took shelter from the strongest hurricane ever inside the concrete cellar on Necker and very, very fortunately it held firm,’ he wrote in a blog post.
But Branson continued to express his heartbreak upon seeing the chaos wrought by the monster hurricane.
‘I have never seen anything like this hurricane,’ he wrote. ‘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.
‘For those who are still in the path of Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Jose to come, I cannot emphasise how important it is to put safety first and prepare as strongly as possible.
‘Having seen first-hand the power of this storm, please ensure you stay inside, ideally in organised shelters or other solid concrete structures with water, supplies and emergency contact plans.’