Richard Branson Shows The Devastation Caused To His Home By Hurricane Irma

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2017

Hurricane Irma's deadly tear through the Caribbean will hobble the region's multi-billion dollar tourism industry for months, just as hotels, airlines, and cruises were gearing up for the region's peak winter season.

A French military ship was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday with materials to build temporary housing.

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce additional funds for hurricane relief.

Earlier on Monday, Johnson, the foreign secretary, defended the United Kingdom response to what he called "an unprecedented catastrophe" and said the government would be providing assistance to effected areas for the long term.

"The water rushed in and knocked down our door", said Olga, as she took all her soaked belongings out of her house to dry in the returning sunshine.

MARTIN: So we understand that in a number of places, I mean, most of the structures have been damaged. "That's the problem, everyone has their own problems at the moment", Cluff said.

European governments came under fire as critics accused them of being slow to respond to crises in their overseas Caribbean territories, where massive damage left thousands homeless as looting broke out in the streets. "This is a long game now".

The U.K. has dispatched a naval ship, Mounts Bay, and nearly 500 troops including medics and engineers to the islands.

"We must get more help to the islands to rebuild homes and infrastructure and restore power, clean water and food supplies", said Branson, head of the Virgin Group conglomerate.

On Thursday her government increased the aid budget for Irma to #32 million ($42 million, 35 million euros) from an initial #12 million.

Irma was a Category Five hurricane when it crashed through the Caribbean, killing at least 26 people. Among the hardest hit islands were the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, plus Antigua and Barbuda.

Opposition politicians have compared Britain's response unfavorably to that of France, which has sent more than 1,000 troops, police and emergency workers to its territories of St. Martin and St. Barts, and had two frigates positioned in the area ahead of the storm. France also plans to establish a center to provide aid to victims and an inter-ministerial committee for reconstruction of the French islands.

Also hit hard was Cuba, where central Havana neighbourhoods along the coast between the Almendares River and the harbour suffered the brunt of the flooding.

BEAUBIEN: Yeah. Barbuda, that one on the far eastern most part of the Caribbean, it got absolutely slammed. Those who remained told CNN they were prepared, though they knew this was a storm like few had ever experienced.

Elsewhere in the country, Irma struck the archipelago north of Cuba's Camaguey and Ciego de Avila provinces with gusts so strong they destroyed an instrument used to measure wind, Cuba's meteorological agency reported. Sailors are providing helicopters that can transport people and supplies, doing damage assessments and evacuating those with intensive medical needs from St. Thomas to St. Croix, according to a Navy news release.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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