Sir Richard Branson warns Hurricane Maria will bring 'even more catastrophic damage' to Virgin Islands

Mary Gallagher

Sir Richard Branson has warned that the Virgin Islands will sustain “more catastrophic damage” with the imminient arrival of Hurricane Maria, after Hurricane Irma raged through Necker Island earlier this month.

Maria is currently 15 miles southeast of Dominica, and the eye of the storm is set to pass near Dominica during the “next few hours”.

It’s expected she will cause potentially devastating landfall.

Richard Branson’s home in Necker Island in the Caribbean has been destroyed by Hurricane Irma
Richard Branson’s home in Necker Island in the Caribbean has been destroyed by Hurricane Irma

Branson has continued to update the public on the state of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean in the wake of the natural phenomenas battering the South East coast of North America via his blog and Instagram.

He has called for a ‘Marshall Plan’ to help rebuild the area, insisting the BVIs “need the world’s attention now”.

My experience of Hurricane #Irma

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Sep 18, 2017 at 11:40am PDT

In a post on his blog, the Virgin boss said: “Our immediate worry is Hurricane Maria, which is now a Category 3 hurricane and looks to be moving along a very similar trajectory to Hurricane Irma – it could be Category 4 by the time it arrives in the British Virgin Islands.

“The people of the BVI and Caribbean, who have been absolutely devastated by Irma, are now bracing themselves for another terrible hurricane.

Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)
Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)

“Our team are doing everything we can to help people on the ground to prepare, and aid efforts are continuing.

“The spirit of the British Virgin Islands is as strong as ever and the support from people around the world is incredible.

“However, there could be even more catastrophic damage for people who have already lost their homes and their livelihoods.”

Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)
Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)

Earlier this month, Branson vowed to do whatever he can to support and assist the local community in “this extremely testing time”.

Speaking to Virgin colleagues via a satellite phone that was “just about working”, Branson said: “It is a traumatic time here in the British Virgin Islands.

“I have never seen anything like this hurricane.

“Necker and the whole area have been completely and utterly devastated. We are still assessing the damage, but whole houses and trees have disappeared.”

Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)
Richard continues to shed light on the devastation (Instagram)

Hurricane warnings are now in place for the Leeward Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico with destructive waves, flash floods, mudslides and life-threatening storm surge all said to pose a threat to islanders.

So far, six million people have fled Florida and the Caribbean in one of the biggest evacuations in US history.