A more positive day in the British Virgin Islands, as food, water and aid begins to come into the islands and the people continue to be incredibly positive and resilient.
Our aid boats have arrived and food, water and essential supplies have been unloaded by the team, who are very tired but in great spirits. Some marines have arrived in Virgin Gorda and we hear more are on their way. This is a huge help in ensuring the aid is distributed safely and efficiently. Many thanks to the Armed Forces for their expertise, and to those behind the scenes, helping to get this assistance in place. The people in Virgin Gorda we have met are really positive and calm.
Relief distribution centres are being set up – my son Sam is setting up base in the Methodist Church in Virgin Gorda for Gun Creek and Leverick Bay, and there are other distribution bases being organised. The team are clearing Virgin Gorda runway, with the hope of getting the airport up and running so planes can come directly into Virgin Gorda with more aid. The Governor of Puerto Rico was good enough to get a plane full of supplies flown into Tortola, and we hear more relief planes are coming in at Beef Airport. It is also good to see the British Government pledging more aid to the BVI and Boris Johnson and his team coming into the islands.
I spent the day going around meeting individual families on Virgin Gorda. The resilience of the Caribbean people is just incredible. One family I met had their entire house blown away during the hurricane. They raced to take shelter in another house, which promptly got blown away as well. They gathered their children to crouch down next to a wall for shelter, but then the wall crumbled. Finally, they found shelter in the bottom of a cistern and saw out the storm.
I’m sure there are incredible stories of resilience like this all the way through the Caribbean and into America. We heard somebody say “It’s Irmageddon around here!” It made us smile. Everyone is pulling together and spirits are improving. More help is needed, but it feels like the tide is turning.