LIFE

Richard Branson Emerges From Island Estate After Hurricane, Shares Heartbreaking Photos Of Irma

by Gwendolyn Plummer
Gwen is a writer, reader, hockey fan, concert goer, and lunchtime enthusiast.

Last week before Hurricane Irma hit, we reported that billionaire Richard Branson would be weathering the storm on his private island, Necker Island.

Richard has remained on Necker Island through every hurricane the island has experienced since he purchased it.

Irma was by far the strongest.

To keep everyone safe during the storm, Richard welcomed the team on his island into his home, which he hoped would withstand the strong winds, flooding, and flying debris.

In the hours immediately after the storm, Richard’s company, Virgin, reported that he and his team were all safe.

They may be safe, but that doesn’t mean the storm did not devastate Necker Island, as well as the many surrounding islands.

Keep scrolling for an update from Necker Island, and to see how Richard Branson is helping those affected by Hurricane Irma on as many islands as he can.

[H/T: Fox 26 Houston]

Richard Branson and team

Before Hurricane Irma hit Necker Island and other British Virgin Islands, billionaire Richard Branson and his team took shelter in his wine cellar.

Update from Virgin after Hurricane Irma

The day after the storm, Richard’s company, Virgin, revealed that he and his team had survived the harrowing storm. Although everyone was OK, the island itself was in serious disrepair. Virgin stated they would begin helping the local community as soon as they could.

Richard Branson's tweet following Hurricane Irma

Richard spoke out soon after — but not about Necker Island. Necker is privately owned, meaning Richard, his team, and the wildlife there were the only ones affected by Irma when it. Instead, Richard wanted to shed light on the islands that thousands of people call home — islands that are now destroyed.

Richard, his team, and volunteers set out to help other islands such as Virgin Gorda, Moskito, and Puerto Rico. Although communication was down across the Virgin Islands, Richard says he was able to use a satellite phone to send updates.

Richard Branson's team on BVI after Hurricane Irma

Thousands of lives were swept away with Hurricane Irma.

“There is a huge amount of damage to buildings, but fortunately everyone we have seen so far has been OK,” Richard said.

Richard Branson's team helping BVI after Hurricane Irma

Despite the terrifying conditions, Richard and his team were on the ground doing whatever they could to help the people of the British Virgin Islands.

BVI after Hurricane Irma

It will probably take years, and massive amounts of resources, to get the British Virgin Islands back on their feet, but Richard and his team are at the forefront of the recovery effort.

Richard wrote:

My son Sam, the team and I will be back in the BVI, helping with supplies distribution in conjunction with the local authorities to support people on the ground. We will be handing out canned foods, water, medical supplies, sanitary supplies and other essentials to the surrounding islands. We have people on the ground in Virgin Gorda, where we are focusing lots of our efforts.

Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic have arranged special relief flights both independently and in conjunction with the UK Department for International Development, to the British Virgin Islands and Antigua – with plans to distribute further aid, building materials, blankets and bottled water over the following week.   

Richard Branson after Hurricane Irma

There is a lot of work left to be done in the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean, and in the United States thanks to Hurricane Irma.

Richard wrote:

The challenge in disaster situations is always to make sure that offers of support meet the real needs on the ground, and our teams are working hard to support the BVI and UK governments in assessing what is needed the most and mobilising the resources at our disposal. It is a lengthy undertaking, given the extent of devastation on the ground, but I’m hopeful that we’ll soon gave a better picture of the situation, so that we can channel the fantastic goodwill we encounter in the most effective way.

I’m glad Richard and his team are safe, and send the very best to everyone affected by Hurricane Irma. Please SHARE his efforts on Facebook!

If you are looking to help the victims of the recent hurricanes, consider donating to the Red Cross, or take a look at these eight ways you can lend a hand.