Virgin Group founder Richard Branson gave an on-the-grounds look at the destruction Hurricane Irma has caused to Necker Island—his private island and resort in the British Virgin Islands.
Branson shared a photo of him standing in front of the aftermath. In the photo's caption, he explained how Virgin Group's entrepreneurial foundation Virgin Unite is working with the Unite BVI Foundation, Virgin Limited Edition (the collection of luxury hotels and retreats Necker Island is a part of) and other organizations to support reconstruction efforts and help those within the British Virgin Island communities.
"We are using our foundation @virginunite to coordinate raising money for longer-term reconstruction projects," he wrote. "Virgin Unite is also working with @unitebvi and @virginlimitededition to support the local BVI communities. They will be working with local organisations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities affected by this disaster. 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 http://virg.in/oxN"
Branson also shared a video of the devastation yesterday, stating in the caption, "Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged." However, Branson noted that the "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."
In addition to sharing updates on social media, Branson detailed his hurricane experience on Virgin's website.
Branson wrote that he was in Puerto Rico to "further mobilise aid efforts and rebuilding plans for the British Virgin Islands and wider Caribbean." In a separate post, he explained how Virgin is working with the Red Cross, local and government authorities, the Armed Forces and other organizations to provide support. He also stated that his son Sam Branson is traveling to the British Virgin Islands to provide aid and supplies.
"What makes the Virgin Islands unique is its isolated location — every island has been devastated, so there is no support to come from nearby," he wrote in one post. "We must get more help to the islands to rebuild homes and infrastructure and restore power, clean water and food supplies."
Furthermore, Branson wrote about how he visited people living on the island Virgin Gorda.
Besides detailing the storm's aftermath, Branson wrote about his experiences before the storm. He shared pictures of him playing games and crowding in two bedrooms with other team members on the island before they all headed into the wine cellar at Necker's Great House to stay safe.
"All of us slept together in two rooms. I haven't had a sleepover quite like it since I was a kid," Branson wrote in one post. "Strangely, it's a privilege to experience what is turning into possibly the strongest storm ever with such a great group of young people."
This isn't the first time Necker Island has experienced severe damage. The luxury island experienced a fire a few years back caused by lightning striking one of the properties. Thankfully, the 20 people who had been in the property escaped.
"My son Sam and nephew Jack rushed to the house and helped get everyone out," Branson recalled in an old post, "and many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90 year old mum out of the main house to safety - she was wondering when a Director was going to shout CUT!"
To donate to the Red Cross Hurricane Irma relief fund, click here.
On Sept. 12, there will also be the Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief telethon, which will air live across networks NBC, ABC, CBS, CMT and Fox at 8 p.m. on the East Coast and replay at 8 p.m. on the West Coast. The proceeds will benefit a number of organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Feeding Texas, Direct Relief, United Way, the Rebuild Texas Fund and the Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief. The benefit has announced that it's preparing to expand its beneficiaries to also help those affected by Hurricane Irma.