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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Branson shows damage on his private island hit by 'full force'

Richard Branson among the devastation on Necker island. Photo: Virgin.com/PA Wire
Richard Branson among the devastation on Necker island. Photo: Virgin.com/PA Wire

Tycoon Richard Branson has shared photos and video showing the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma on his private island, Necker.

The English billionaire uploaded a picture of himself in front of torn-down buildings and uprooted trees.

In a blog post, the Virgin founder wrote: "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 the island during the storm are safe and well.

"This story is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods."

Rebuilding

Branson was writing from Puerto Rico, where he is mobilising aid efforts and rebuilding plans for the British Virgin Islands and the wider Caribbean.

He said he has spent the past two days visiting staff who live on Virgin Gorda and "as many people as possible" to distribute aid, water and supplies.

"We have seen first-hand just how ferocious and unforgiving this storm was," he added.

The entrepreneur insisted the British government has a "massive role to play in the recovery of its territories" through short-term aid and long-term infrastructure spending.

He compared the situation with the US giving funding to western Europe for rebuilding after World War Two and called for a "Disaster Recovery Marshall Plan".

Branson signed off his update by saying he has been "overwhelmed by the messages of support sent to those across the region and to myself".

"I know this part of the world and its amazing people will bounce back," he said.

"Thank you for your continuing support, it means the world to us."

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