Update after Hurricane Irma in the BVI

Communications in and out of the BVI are still mostly down, but we have a satellite phone working to share updates. Yesterday afternoon and today we have travelled to Virgin Gorda to try to do everything we can to help the community. The wonderful team have been going around to all of our team members on Virgin Gorda to check they are safe and well. There is a huge amount of damage to buildings, but fortunately everyone we have seen so far has been ok.

The boats are piled up like matchsticks in the harbour. Huge cargo ships were thrown out of the water and into rocks. Resorts have been decimated. The houses have their roofs blown off; even some churches where people sheltered have lost roofs. But the whole British Virgin Islands community is rallying round.

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There needs to be an enormous aid effort. Please get the word out to anyone who can help further. We have Necker Belle coming in from Barbados with food, water and supplies and we hear others are sending boats. Governments – the UK in the British Virgin Islands, the US in the US Virgin Islands - need to do all they can to help people here who have lost their homes and in many cases will have lost their livelihoods after the storm. Thank you to everyone who has donated to the British Red Cross so far – please keep donating at Virgin Money Giving.

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It really was the storm of the century, but another one is coming. We are hopeful Hurricane Jose will not hit the BVI as hard as Hurricane Irma did, but urging everyone to get prepared and helping with supplies where we can.

Man-made climate change is contributing to increasingly strong hurricanes causing unprecedented damage. The whole world should be scrambling to get on top of the climate change issue before it is too late – for this generation, let alone the generations to come.

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In the meantime, our focus is on making sure people are safe, have shelter, food and water. I will try to keep you all updated, hopefully electricity will return soon and more people can get in touch with loved ones. Sending love from everyone here to everyone supporting from afar, it is hugely appreciated.

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