Five days ago, business magnate and philanthropist Richard Branson shared the photo you see above with the caption, “Experienced a night of howling wind and rain as #hurricaneirma edges closer. Expecting full force in about 4 hours, we’ll retreat into a concrete wine cellar under the house. Wonderful team calm and upbeat.”
Now, five days later Hurricane Irma has blown through his home on Necker Island in the Caribbean and the damage that it wrought is severe. Branson has since traveled to Puerto Rico to aid in rebuilding efforts there as well.
Writing on his website…
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.
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 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. We have spent the past two days visiting team members who live on Virgin Gorda and as many people as possible, distributing aid, water and supplies. We have seen first-hand just how ferocious and unforgiving this storm was.
Branson has also shared several photos and videos of the devastation…
TMZ also reported…
Branson had an awesome menagerie of exotic animals on the property and we’re told a number of them didn’t make it through the hurricane … but many did. We’re told 250 flamingos are going strong, as are 60 lemurs.
We’re told all of the parrots and toucans also survived. Our Necker Island sources say Branson converted his wine cellar into an animal hospital and shelter for the injured, weak and scared.
Needless to say, the damage done by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey is going to cost millions and millions of dollars plus hours and hours of work to restore things back to order both here in the United States as well as numerous other locations across the Caribbean.