Sir Richard Branson’s private island in the British Virgin Islands (Necker Island) was decimated by Hurricane Irma, but he recently tweeted, “Necker damage huge, but BVI #Irma story is not about Necker—about 1000s of people who’ve lost homes & livelihoods.” The entrepreneur has assumed leadership in relief and reconstruction efforts; he recently wrote (via the Virgin blog), “I am writing from Puerto Rico, where I have travelled in order to further mobilise 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.” He said that Virgin Unite, Unite BVI, and Virgin Limited Edition will be working together with local organizations in the BVI to rebuild. Caribbean 360 reports:
The Virgin boss has shared images of the widespread destruction of his Necker Island home in the British Overseas Territory, post-Hurricane Irma on various social media platforms.
Despite his own loss, Sir Richard has called on the British Government to create a “disaster recovery Marshall Plan” – referring to the operation undertaken by the United States to rebuild western Europe after World War Two – to help those affected by Irma.
“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,” he wrote on his blog.
“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.”
Sir Richard has been carrying out relief efforts on his own as well.
“To ensure that we’re there for our local community in the very difficult months ahead, Virgin Unite, Unite BVI and Virgin Limited Edition will be working together with local organizations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities impacted by Irma – which is where your donations will come in. We need to raise as much money as possible to help those in urgent need,” he wrote.
“Virgin Unite has also made a donation to the Red Cross to help all those affected by Hurricane Irma. The public can donate to the British Red Cross through Virgin Money Giving.”
He also just returned from the BVI from Puerto Rico where he had travelled to coordinate aid efforts. [. . .]
For more on Virgin relief efforts, see https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/recovering-hurricane-irma