BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS (CBS SF) – After assessing the damage brought on by Hurricane Irma on his private island, Richard Branson wrote on a Virgin.com blog post that he plans to help put together relief efforts for those affected by the devastation.
The former owner of Burlingame-based Virgin America airlines said he plans to return to the British Virgin Islands to work with the local government and agencies to help rebuild from the ground up.
67-year-old Branson wrote that much of the buildings and vegetation on his island, Necker was “badly damaged” or “destroyed” from Hurricane Irma.
“This story is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods,” The billionaire wrote. “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.”
A week earlier, Branson wrote that he and a group of Virgin workers would stay on the island, taking shelter inside his wine cellar.
When the hurricane moved on, Branson said his “beloved island” that he owned since 1978, has been heavily damaged, according to People Magazine. He also posted photos and video from the aftermath of Hurricane Irma on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Much of the buildings and vegetation on Necker has been destroyed or badly damaged. But British Virgin Islands Hurricane #Irma story is not about Necker – it is about the tens of thousands of people who have lost their homes and their livelihoods. @virginunite is coordinating aid to local BVI families & communities affected – please donate to help http://www.virgin.com/unite/bvi-community-support-appeal
Branson says relief and rebuilding efforts will be a massive undertaking and will require a large workforce to get things going. His foundation, Virgin Unite is poised to coordinate efforts to raise money for long-term rebuilding projects. They will also work with the local organizations to identify affected individual needs, the families and communities in need.
To help, visit www.virgin.com/unite.
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