Just last month, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) were left completely devastated by Hurricane Irma’s 200mph winds. Hospitals, banks, schools, churches, jails… almost every structure was reduced to pieces. Plus, the relative isolation of these islands means meaningful help has been difficult to organise.
Families are running out of food and clean water, and there is little public security. It is a desperate situation. It can be hard to imagine having everything you know, love and have in the world ripped from you in just a few hours, however this has happened to nearly all of the residents of the BVI.
Several entrepreneurial groups with strong ties to the region, including Change Makers Rule Breakers who gather regularly on Richard Branson’s Necker Island, have banded together to make things happen… and fast. In the early days, it was the decisive actions, private jets and boats of these local residents, including Branson himself, that brought the first relief.
There’s nothing like being there and looking all around to really get a feel for just how bad it actually is.
Adam Crook, a photographer who grew up in Tortola, says his photos that you see here don’t really to justice to the destruction he has witnessed.
“There’s nothing like being there and looking all around to really get a feel for just how bad it actually is,” Adam says. “I’ve only been on Virgin Gorda since the hurricane. Having been born, raised and spent a majority of my life in Tortola, I still can't really understand the damage over there no matter how many photos I see.”
This video below, narrated by Kate Winslet, gives some sense of the enormity of the crisis and why the BVI is in desperate need of outside help.
On his blog Branson writes: “It is so sad to see the damage Hurricane Irma is still doing in the US, and our thoughts are with all those affected there. But I must repeat the unique nature of the challenge in the BVI, which suffered under the full effect of the strongest Category 7 hurricane ever to hit the Atlantic, and is isolated from outside help. The entire country is unable to function properly, with tens of thousands of people having lost their homes and livelihoods.
“But people remain positive, and I know the British Virgin Islands will get through this together. Please donate what you can to Virgin Unite to support the local BVI communities, working with local organisations to identify the ongoing needs of affected individuals, families and communities affected by this disaster.”
Please visit www.bvihelp.com to see how you can get involved in this appeal. There are three ways to make an immediate impact:
- Share the video to your social media
- Donate – The money will be deployed immediately through Virgin Unite into aid that could save lives.
- Share your resources and/or connections with us so that we can get you involved.
Time is short so please take action right away.
There are no obligations but any help big or small will make an impact.