When the path of Hurricane Irma became clear, many had no choice but to shelter in place. The tiny islands that dot the Caribbean are not evacuation-friendly. Yet some, like British billionaire Richard Branson, chose to stay. And now Branson has published a video showing the devastation on his own private corner of paradise.
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“The 67-year-old locked himself in his wine cellar as the hurricane, the most powerful to have ever hit the Atlantic, started raging outside on Wednesday,” the Daily Mail reports.
The destruction on Necker Island looks catastrophic. It was so bad that Branson had to retreat to Puerto Rico, which was also badly hit, to plan how he could rebuild and help with aid in the rest of the island communities.
“As you can see from the photos, much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged,” Branson wrote on his blog.
“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.”
“I am writing from Puerto Rico, where I have traveled in order to further mobilize aid efforts and rebuilding plans for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean.”
“Communications remain mostly down in the BVI after Hurricane Irma.”
“After sharing these updates and talking to various governments, aid agencies and media, we will be heading straight back to the BVI to continue helping the recovery effort on the ground.”
“The UK government will have a massive role to play in the recovery of its territories affected by Irma – both through short-term aid and long-term infrastructure spending.”
“The region needs a ‘Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan’ for the BVI and other territories that will aid in recovery, sustainable reconstruction and long-term revitalization of the local economy.”
“Our thoughts are with all the people and regions hit by Hurricane Irma, and all those in the US communities currently facing the storm.”
“Over the coming weeks, we’ll have to assess exactly what is needed.”
“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.”