Sir Richard Branson, along with a number of his family members and staff, safely rode out Hurricane Irma while hunkered down inside a wine cellar deep inside the belly of Necker Island in the Caribbean.
While the health and wellbeing of those on Necker is without question the most important thing, Branson has updated followers and friends on social media to let them know that the deadly hurricane utterly destroyed his private tropical paradise.
“It is a traumatic time here in the British Virgin Islands,” Branson wrote in a blog post published on Friday. “Hurricane Irma is continuing a path of destruction that brought the eye of the storm to Necker Island, Moskito Island, and the whole surrounding area.”
Branson further noted that he has “never seen anything like this hurricane.” According to the Virgin founder, Necker, and the whole area, have been “completely and utterly devastated. We are still assessing the damage, but whole houses and trees have disappeared.”
On Sunday, Branson provided followers with a first-hand view of the destruction on Necker with a brief video showing what was once one of the island’s pristine buildings.
“Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged,” Branson wrote in the caption. “But British Virgin Islands Hurricane Irma story is not about Necker — it is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods.” He further noted that his company, Virgin Unite, is coordinating aid to local British Virgin Island families and communities affected. He asked followers to donate help via the company’s site.
In a second post, Branson stood in front of the damage looking a bit shellshocked over the devastation on his island.
However, in true Branson style, he didn’t take the time to worry about his own home and once again used his social platform for good, asking once more for donations for longer-term reconstruction projects in the region.
“They will be working with local organisations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities affected by this disaster,” Branson wrote about Virgin Unite. “We will support the mid to long term efforts on the ground and help provide support as those affected recover from the disaster. Please donate what you can.”