Sir Richard Branson shares images of devastation on Necker Island as he appeals for help for region

Sir Richard Branson shares images of devastation on Necker Island as he appeals for help for regionSir Richard Branson has shared video and photographs showing the "huge" damage wreaked by Hurricane Irma on Necker Island, as he appealed for aid for the devastated British Virgin Islands.   The British billionaire and adventurer took refuge in the wine cellar of his home on his private island as it suffered a direct hit from the Category 5 Hurricane Irma. Richard Branson on Necker Island Credit: Virgin.com/Virgin.com "As you can see from the photos, much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged," Sir Richard wrote from Puerto Rico, where he was mobilising aid efforts  for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean. "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." Damage on Necker Island Credit: Virgin.com/Virgin.com He said others were not so lucky and urgently needed help. "This story is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. We have spent the past two days visiting team members who live on Virgin Gorda and as many people as possible, distributing aid, water and supplies. We have seen first-hand just how ferocious and unforgiving this storm was," he wrote.  Necker Island after Hurricane Irma hit Credit: Virgin.com/Virgin.com Urging people to remain calm amid reports of "civil unrest", he said he was in contact with the British government and others to bring help to the region.  Damage on Necker Island, British Virgin Islands Credit: Virgin.com/Virgin.com "The BVI needs an enormous amount of help to recover from the widespread devastation," he added.  The message came after his son Sam said he was heading to the British Virgin Islands to help with the relief effort following Hurricane Irma – and has appealed to anyone who has a boat to join him. 'Please help': Sam Branson joins Hurricane Irma relief effort 01:02 The 32 year-old rode out the storm on Necker Island earlier this week, where family and staff survived by hiding in the wine cellar. Sir Richard also owns an island in the British Virgin Islands and his son says he is preparing  himself to see it in ruins when he arrives. "If you have boats, then please get them to the BVI," Sam said in a video posted on Instagram. "Going to be harrowing to see my home and so many others' beloved place so decimated but will do all I can to get aid to the people that need it most!". Hurricane Irma batters the Caribbean, in pictures The islands' governor, Gus Jaspert, said there had been devastating damage and "reports of casualties and fatalities" following the storm. He added: "I am truly heartbroken by this news. May God bless and protect the territory and our people." Electricity is completely down on Tortola, the largest of the islands while the small local hospital has doubled up as a shelter for those left homeless. A curfew has been imposed between 6pm and 6am. Pictures emerging from the islands showed vehicles strewn across roads and houses completely destroyed. Credit: Jalon Manson Shortte Chef Hubert Haciski, 26, who is stranded on Tortola and sheltered in the toilets of a hotel in Road Town for the storm, told The Sun: "We are running generators but the fuel is running low on the island." Sophie Leroy, 31, who now lives in London but lived on Tortola from the age of two to 29, has been speaking to friends she is able to communicate with about the devastation. She said: "I really don't think people understand the scale of destruction. I have been through many hurricanes. This is like nothing I have ever seen in my entire life. It is uninhabitable and will be for months. “This is very serious. Parts of the island are still inaccessible, people are unaccounted for and can't be searched for until roads are clear. In some places, there are just no more roads. “Most of the island and all of the other islands are without communication – comms blackout." Caribbean islands: before and after Hurricane Irma 02:03 The Royal Navy arrived at the British Virgin Islands on Friday to scenes of devastation. The support ship RFA Mounts Bay arrived off the British overseas territory, bringing with it 40 Royal Marines and Army engineers to help rebuild other vital infrastructure damaged in the storm. After arriving, navy sources said Royal Marines had found “devastation”. The naval source added: “The islands haven’t escaped and it’s pretty grim out there.” With another Category 5 hurricane, Jose, also approaching the Caribbean, the clock is ticking on the rescue effort. Hurricane Irma | Key articles  



Yahoo News – Latest News & Headlines