It was a little surprising when Richard Branson chose to stay on his private island in the Caribbean as Hurricane Irma approached but who are we to argue with a billionaire whose wine cellar doubles as a storm shelter?
The Virgin mogul added a grim update to his Instagram and, while everyone survived, there has been a lot of damage. Branson wrote:
“All of the team who stayed on Necker and Moskito during the hurricane are safe and well. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane #Irma in the BVI & Caribbean. I’ve never seen anything like it. Urge all in its path to seek strong shelter & stay safe. Necker & whole area has been completely devastated. @virginunite have donated to @britishredcross appeal to provide aid, @virginatlantic flight to help recovery. Urge everyone to donate & support any way they can. Thanks for all your well-wishes & support.”
Branson’s description was echoed by his son, Sam, who also took to Instagram to share horrifying pictures of the extensive damage along with the caption: “Very concerned for our friends and everyone on the neighboring islands and people in its path. Please don’t take this hurricane lightly if it is heading your way. If your building is not very solid, do find somewhere safe! Homes can be rebuilt but lives can’t.”
In a blog post addressing the intensity of this storm, the elder Branson wrote: “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. Outside of the bunker, bathroom and bedroom doors and windows have flown 40 feet away.”
While reception must be extremely poor in the area, Branson was able to communicate using a satellite phone that he’s owned since 1978. Talk about being ahead of his time! It makes sense, though, since he has lived through three hurricanes in as many decades on the island.
All things considered, he fared incredibly well but he’s well aware of the fact that not everyone was as lucky. In his blog post, he also explained, “I know we are fortunate here on Necker and Moskito. Our wonderful team are fine. I know we will all band together and rebuild the islands to become stronger and even more wonderful than they were before.” I would urge everyone to donate to the British Red Cross through Virgin Money Giving (who are waiving their fees in support of the appeal) to help local communities.”
The destructive Hurricane Irma is expected to make landfall in South Florida by Sunday morning.