Richard Branson has shared heartbreaking photos of Hurricane Irma’s devastation, along with ways to help.
The philanthropist took advantage of his fame recently to share some truly devastating photos of the damage Hurricane Irma caused to his home in the Caribbean.
Before Irma arrived, Branson made headlines by choosing not to evacuate from his private Caribbean island, Necker Island, that is within the British Virgin Islands. Instead, he set up a nice, secure spot within his concrete wine cellar, correctly assuming it would be able to withstand the hurricane without an issue.
In addition to taking shelter in the wine cellar, he invited staff members of Virgin Group to join him.
The group included about a dozen staff members. Branson shared these words on his blog prior to Irma striking:
“Knowing our wonderful team as I do, I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge.”
Branson and his staff members clearly went into the experience with a silver lining in mind despite the destruction they knew was to come. Before taking shelter, Branson advised everyone to do the same via Twitter on Sept. 7:
“Never seen anything like Hurricane #Irma. I cannot stress enough, seek strong shelter, stay inside, stay safe.”
Branson was understandably quiet on social media as Hurricane Irma passed overhead.
Once the storm was gone, he posted tweets and on his blog. He let everyone know that he and the staff who sheltered with him were safe, but Necker Island was severely damaged. The windows and doors right outside the wine cellar that provided them safety were a full 40 feet away. He also reported that trees and houses were gone.
At this point, he made another blog post encouraging others to take shelter if necessary:
“For those who are still in the path of Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Jose to come, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to put safety first and prepare as strongly as possible. Having seen first-hand the power of this storm, please ensure you stay inside, ideally in organised shelters or other solid concrete structures with water, supplies and emergency contact plans.”
To get his point across, Branson has also posted numerous photos of the destruction caused by Hurricane Irma on his Twitter.
As soon as he was able to do so, Branson spent his time directly assisting with other Virgin Islands in need of assistance. On Sept. 8, he posted:
In the tweet, Branson let others know that he and his team spent the day helping those on Virgin Gorda and everyone had incredible spirit.
On Sept. 10, Branson posted that he was in Puerto Rico helping to mobilize the aid efforts for the Caribbean and British Virgin Islands.
In addition to original tweets, Branson retweeted some posts to extend their range, including those showcasing destruction on the islands and those letting people know how to help.
Branson also tweeted photos of Necker Island itself. This image was accompanied by the caption:
“Necker damage huge, but BVI #Irma story is not about Necker – about 1000s of people who’ve lost homes & livelihoods”
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Even with so much destruction to his home, property, and island, Branson continued to keep the focus on the people who need the most help – those without resources.
Since Irma left, he has been working hard to provide financial resources as well as organize efforts and participate wherever possible to get everyone back on their feet.
Branson is working hard to coordinate aid so those who need the help most receive it and no one goes without food, water, or shelter for long. He is urging people to “please donate what you can to support local #BVI families & communities affected by #Irma.”
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source: Fox 26 Houston